CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Three construction companies connected to the devastating SouthPark apartment complex construction fire that killed two workers have been cited for serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina.
MCRT Carolinas Construction LLC, Kentucky Overhead Door Inc., and Diversified Insulation LLC have all been issued citations following inspections that began on May 18 and May 19, 2023.
The massive 5-alarm fire happened Thursday, May 18, 2023, in the 700 block of Liberty Row Road. As emergency crews and firefighters arrived at the scene, they observed heavy smoke and large flames showing from the multi-story construction site.
Firefighters were able to rescue 15 people who were trapped inside the apartment building, including one worker who was stuck 210 feet above ground in a crane.
The next day, on May 19, 2023, emergency crews discovered the remains of Demonte Sherrill and Ruben Holmes, who were construction workers on the project.
On June 7, Charlotte Fire announced that several fire codes were not met in connection to May’s deadly fire. Charlotte Fire said they determined the blaze began in a trailer on the first floor of the building. Investigators determined multiple accidental heat sources were inside the trailer.
Each company has been cited with the following:
- The Labor Department cited MCRT Carolinas Construction LLC with three alleged serious violations of the OSHA of North Carolina with a total penalty of $46,875.
- The Labor Department cited Kentucky Overhead Door Inc. DBA Baker Insulation with four alleged serious violations of the OSHA of North Carolina with a total penalty of $6,250.
- The Labor Department cited Diversified Insulation LLC with one alleged serious violation of the OSHA of North Carolina with a total penalty of $3,125.
The DOL said they take into consideration various factors such as the gravity of the violations, the size of the business, the good faith of the employer, and the history of previous violations when issuing fines. The maximum penalty for each serious violation is $15,625, authorities said.
According to documents, MCRT Carolinas Construction LLC has been cited for “building or structure exits were not so arranged and maintained as to provide free and unobstructed egress from all parts of the building or structure at all times when it was occupied,” “Not developing or implementing an emergency response plan,” and “An alarm system had not been established by the employer whereby employees on-site could be alerted for emergencies.”
By law, the money from the penalties collected by the Department of Labor will eventually be distributed to the North Carolina public school system, authorities said.
Each company has 15 business days from receiving the citations to either pay the penalty or file a notice of contest with the OSH Review Commission of North Carolina.