Two bodies were found among the rubble of a Charlotte building that was destroyed by a five-alarm fire on Thursday.
The massive fire that brought over 90 firefighters to a new apartment complex in the upscale South Park area did not cause any injuries. According to ABC 11, firefighters were able rescue 15 workers. One worker was trapped on top of the crane for some time while a fire engine spray water to prevent it from collapsing.
"I've never ever seen a fire of this magnitude," said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings, a 31-year veteran of the force. "It's devastating, heartbreaking."
Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson stated that investigators believe the blaze started around 9 am on Thursday morning in a trailer which was used to spray insulation onto the walls of the building. Johnson, according to WBTV believes that the fire was an accident.
The chief stated that investigators were not able to conduct a thorough examination of the trailer. Johnson stated that the trailer is still in an unsafe condition for our members.
ABC 11 reported Johnson saying that at least two small firefighting crews had to call a mayday and be rescued by the rapidly moving blaze. One of them could hear trapped people's cries on the 6th floor, but they couldn't see through the smoke. "They were trying to get them, but were unable get them before conditions changed," Johnson stated. They had to make a mayday call.
Vi Lyles, the mayor of Vilyles, confirmed Demonte Sherrill's death. The second victim has not been identified.
Mill Creek Residential, of Boca Raton in Florida, developed the apartment community along with Hawthorne Residential Partners based in Greensboro. Mill Creek, an international rental housing company broke ground in January 2022 on the mid-rise apartment complex with 239 units. Plans included identical buildings at Liberty Row Drive 7740 and 7741.
According to reports, the media, the building where the fire began was completely destroyed, except for a small portion of concrete, and the second was severely damaged.
It is unclear what the developer plans to do with the property.
According to Mecklenburg County records, Hawthorne Residential Partners has sold a 2.7 acre parcel located at 7741 Liberty Row Drive in Charlotte for $11.9 Million. According to the Charlotte Observer, records show that the property was purchased by a limited partner who listed a South End mailing address that is an office of Mill Creek Residential.
Modera SouthPark is scheduled to be delivered in spring 2024. The Barclay SouthPark retirement community, and Canopy Hilton Hotel are nearby. The apartments are part of the Liberty SouthPark master-planned development approved in 2016.
Mill Creek Residential entered Charlotte's market in 2021, when it paid $59 million for a 184 unit complex called Quarterside Uptown. Mill Creek rebranded 810 E. Seventh St. as Alister Uptown.
Hawthorne Residential Partners, the largest apartment management company in Triad, is the most successful. It manages 27 communities with more than 5,500 apartments in the Triad. Hawthorne also has eight properties in Charlotte.
The fire affected several businesses in the vicinity.