Two workers have yet to be located after a major, five-alarm fire broke out at a construction site in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday morning. At a press conference conducted hours after the f!re first broke out at around 9 a.m. ET, Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson said that more than 90 firemen had been called to the area but had not yet quenched the fast-moving flames.
The chief claims that the exposed wood at the construction site contributed to the rapid spread of the fire, which eventually reached temperatures of more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Johnson claimed 15 personnel were rescued from the inferno by the rescue teams.
A tower crane operator who was working at the construction site when the fire broke out has been rescued, according to officials who spoke to CBS News previously. The operator was taken to the hospital, although his or her injuries are not considered to be life threatening.
Johnson stated during the press conference that the construction site foreman confirmed that two men were still missing. Images and videos posted online depict a massive blaze in the South Park sector of the North Carolina city, a region famed for its enormous namesake shopping center.
WBTV, a local CBS affiliate, also shot footage of the blaze, which showed a dense column of black smoke rising from the building. In another video, taken from inside a building across the street by the Twitter user @mr_veal, huge flames can be seen pouring out of the roof of the structure.
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Following the blaze, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police tweeted that several roads would be closed in the SouthPark neighborhood. At this time, at least one road is accessible again. On Thursday morning, a representative for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools informed WBTV that the fire had not had any effect on the district’s schools.
STRUCTURE FIRE: 7700 block Liberty Row Dr. Charlotte Fire fighters currently on scene battling blaze at construction site. pic.twitter.com/ZWIBK1WuNq
— Charlotte Fire Dept (@CharlotteFD) May 18, 2023
Fire crews will be on scene for “a period of time,” according to the chief, who reported at the afternoon press conference that two maydays had been issued by responders since their arrival due to being trapped. He added that authorities would look into what started the fire.
The following tweet serves as confirmation of the news:
Two workers are unaccounted for after firefighters battled a massive fire that broke out Thursday morning at a construction site in Charlotte, North Carolina. https://t.co/WSiSzdbwl1
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) May 18, 2023
The developer of the South Park property, Mill Creek Residential, told CBS News in a statement that it was “gathering as much information as possible on what occurred” at the location.
“Our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of the people who were working there today and those in the surrounding area,” the company said. “Our thoughts are with those who were impacted and their friends and family members. We are gathering as much information as possible on what occurred and will take the appropriate measures to address today’s incident.”
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