In a devastating incident that unfolded on May 18, a construction site fire engulfed an apartment building in the affluent neighborhood of South Park in Charlotte, North Carolina, claiming the lives of two workers.
The two victims were identified as Demonte Sherrill, 30, and Rueben Holmes, 38, who had been working on the sixth floor of the partially built structure near the SouthPark Mall when the tragedy struck.
Sherrill’s family members say that he resorted to social media to cry for help when he realized the dangerous situation he was in. In a heart-wrenching Facebook Live video, the father of four pleaded for assistance as the flames engulfed the construction site.
His mother, Onita Sherrill, said she watched in horror as her son’s final moments played out on the internet. Onita later recounted the devastating experience, expressing her disbelief and anguish at the tragic turn of events.
So heartbreaking. We were all praying for everyone to make it out and home to their families. Sadly, a father of 4 died in the construction site fire in SouthPark, his family says his boss called to let them know. 🙏🏼 https://t.co/N2WaOZFNav
— Genevieve Curtis (@GenevieveonTV) May 18, 2023
“I was hoping, but just from the (Facebook Live) — and the way the room filled up with smoke — I didn’t see it being any hope at that time,” Onita stated in an interview with WSOC.
Overwhelmed with shock and numbness, she struggled to come to terms with the loss, emphasizing Demonte’s role as a loving father and caring individual who cherished his family.
Sherrill’s father, Terry Campbell, rushed to the scene after receiving the distressing news from Onita. Campbell described the scene as one engulfed in thick smoke, admitting his inability to watch the unfolding tragedy. He later confirmed his son’s fate when he got in touch with Demonte’s boss.
Keith Suggs, the employer of the victims, provided further insight into the tragic incident. Demonte Sherrill had only been on the job for three days before the unfortunate incident. According to Suggs, the second victim, Holmes called him from the burning building to tell him that he was unable to escape the fire.
Speaking to reporters, Fire Chief Reginald Johnson highlighted the challenges faced by firefighters during the rescue operation, as he revealed that firefighters tried to rescue the two workers.
However, they couldn’t due to limited visibility caused by the massive fire which they believe originated from a spray insulation foam trailer on the ground floor, with sparks accidentally igniting the blaze.
More than 90 firefighters responded to the scene, battling the fierce flames and attempting to save lives. While Sherrill and Holmes did not make it, fifteen workers were successfully rescued from the blazing building.