Large Fire at a Construction Site in Charlotte, NC

Risk Logic Inc. (RLI) is a consulting engineering company that provides Loss Prevention Services. Since 1997, we have been working in regions all over the world utilizing the most advanced and current standards.

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June 21st, 2023

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

On the morning of Thursday May 18th, a five-alarm fire broke out at an unfinished apartment complex in Charlotte, North Caroline. Almost 100 firefighters were at the scene, which took many hours to extinguish the rapidly moving flames. 

fire at construction site
The image above was shared on social media of the fire reaching over 2,000℉.

During the incident, 15 workers were rescued by the first responders, including one crane operator. Unfortunately, two construction workers passed away.

There were concerns about the adjacent building being unstable, and the possibility of a collapse. Exposed wood within the construction site allowed the fire to spread quickly. Firefighters put out hotspots throughout the day and protected the building across the street as embers spread fast.

First responders continued to put out a fire at the construction site.
Fire rated masonry shafts (for stairwell and elevators) remain standing where the wood framed structure previously stood.
An adjacent similar building under construction was exposed to the flames, but fire department personnel successfully prevented fire spread.

Investigators are still evaluating and are unsure of the cause at this time. So far, they believe it was accidental and started on the ground floor in a spray foam insulation trailer.

Risk Logic can help prevent and control fires like this one during the construction process. Typical recommendations include eliminating ignition sources near flammable and combustible materials, proper storage of flammable liquids, installing standpipe risers with hose connections for fire department use, instituting a Hot Work Permit program, proper use of temporary heaters,  and other specific construction site related fire safety measures. For a comprehensive Property Risk Inspection, please contact RLI. Our engineers can assist in identifying possible fire hazards that can help avoid tragedies in the future.