CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Several 911 calls have been released in connection to the massive 5-alarm SouthPark construction fire that claimed the lives of two workers.

“We have a trailer on fire, inside the parking deck. Yes, sir, it’s a trailer. It has some equipment on it. We just sprayed fire extinguishers but it continues to burn, sir. We are evacuating.”

New 911 calls clarify that the large apartment complex fire started in a trailer that was attached to a vehicle. Fire officials said the blaze started in a spray foam insulation trailer on the bottom floor of the construction site; it’s believed to be accidental.

Another 911 call detailed when witnesses nearby first observed the construction site fire.

In another 911 call, people were being evacuated from neighboring areas due to the large fire quickly spreading. Traffic issues were being reported and called in to 911.

“I believe that we need police. They’re evacuating our building because of the fire that’s nearby but traffic is not able to move. We’re trying to evacuate through to Park Road to get out of the area and I think we need someone to help us direct traffic because everybody is just stuck.”

As emergency crews rushed to the scene and were battling the flames, residents continued to call 911 to report seeing heavy smoke and fire from where they were.

The apartment complex fire broke out just after 9 a.m. Thursday, May 18, in the 7700 block of Liberty Row Drive. Large black clouds of smoke and flames could be seen from miles away.

Charlotte Fire was dispatched within 33 seconds and the first truck was at the scene in just over four minutes. Temperatures soared to over 2,000 degrees. Two workers were killed in the fire and 15 people who were trapped in the building were rescued by Charlotte area firefighters.

Those killed were identified as:

  • Demonte Sherill
  • Ruben Holmes

Investigators said they found Holmes and Sherrill’s remains the day after the fire, Friday, May 19.

A crane operator was trapped on a crane at the site 200-plus feet above the ground before a firefighter scaled the crane’s ladder to rescue the man.

More than 100 vehicles were on the scene to fight the fire and secure the area. More than 175 firefighters brought the fire under control.