CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WGHP) — A five-alarm fire burning at a Charlotte building under construction has sent one person to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and two construction workers are missing.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say they are working with the Charlotte Fire Department to secure the area of the 7700 block of Liberty Row Drive. The fire broke out at about 9 a.m. Thursday
One person was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, according to WJZY. A medical team evaluated two others, but the two turned down transport to a hospital. The team remained on scene to support firefighters.
The station reports 15 workers have been rescued from the site, but there are two construction workers who are unaccounted for.
Drivers are asked to avoid the SouthPark area, as well as Liberty Row Drive, Fairview Road, Assembly Street and Barclay Downs Drive. Police say Park South Drive southbound, which had been closed, is back open.
Police ask the public in Charlotte not to call 911 “unless you have an emergency” while emergency crews focus on the blaze.
Video from the scene shared by the Charlotte Fire Department shows smoke pouring from the building.
The site of the fire
According to WJZY, the fire broke out at a construction site. Some fire crews are being evacuated as the fire spreads.
The building involved appears to be about seven stories tall with many balconies. Signs at the scene indicated that the construction site is connected with Mill Creek Residential, a rental housing brand. Mill Creek is building its Modera SouthPark “luxury apartment community” at 7741 Liberty Road Drive in Charlotte.
“The wood-frame, podium-style community consists of twin buildings that comprise 239 apartment homes including a mix of spacious studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom homes with an average square footage of 1,100 and various layouts available,” the company says on its website. “First move-ins are anticipated for spring 2024.”
The company boasts a location within one mile of “more than 65 restaurants, 1,200 hotel rooms and various entertainment options.”
Charred debris has been found as far as about two miles away from the fire.
A construction worker was trapped on top of a crane near the fire, according to WJZY. A photo from the scene posted by WJZY reporter Daniel Pierce at 10:38 a.m. shows the worker in the operator’s cab obscured by smoke.
The worker has since been rescued. The Waxhaw Fire Chief told WJZY that crews poured water onto the crane Queen City News the crane operator in SouthPark was rescued by first “putting plenty of water on the crane to ensure the metal didn’t twist or collapse.”
“Then firefighters climbed over 100 feet up the crane to help rescue the operator who had begun climbing down,” they said.