Father of 4 who pleaded for help before dying in construction fire is among the 2 bodies recovered, officials say


By Jay Croft and Jamiel Lynch, CNN

(CNN) -- (CNN) — A construction worker whose family says he pleaded for help on Facebook Live before he died in a construction site fire in Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of two bodies authorities recovered Friday, officials said.

Two construction workers had been unaccounted for following the deadly blaze Thursday at a multistory building that appeared to be under construction.

Firefighters had tried to reach the two workers but were faced with the challenges of limited visibility, Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson said during a news conference Friday.

Crews tried to follow their sound but were unable to locate them, prompting the involvement of another company to help escort them out, he said.

One of the workers was identified as Demonte Sherrill, according to Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles.

“His family said he was a hard worker, a loving father and a family man. I want Mr. Sherrill’s family to know that we grieve with you – especially Mr. Sherrill’s children,” Lyles said.

Officials did not release the name of the other victim.

“To the loved ones of the second individual, please know that our community, or city, stands with you,” Lyles added.

The bodies have been transported to the medical examiner’s office, which will make official identifications, according to Johnson.

Sherrill, a father of four, yelled for help as his family members witnessed his final moments, they told CNN affiliate WSOC.

Sherrill’s mother, Onita Sherrill, told the station she watched her son’s life end on a Facebook Live, with him pleading for help and praying he would find a safe space.

“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,” she said.

His father, Terry Campbell, said his son’s boss told him Sherril did not make it out alive, the station reported.

The contractor who employed Sherrill told WSOC Friday another worker from his company died in the fire.

“This fire has been difficult for our community, and our firefighters continue to diligently work on scene to find answers,” the Charlotte Fire Department tweeted.

The cause of the fire has been determined to be unintentional in nature and remains under investigation. The fire started in a spray insulation foam trailer on the ground floor, Johnson said.

More than 90 firefighters worked to rescue the construction workers, Johnson said.

With heat above 2,000 degrees, the fire moved rapidly, he said.

Mayor Lyles tweeted firefighters rescued a crane operator who was stuck above the blaze, which started around 9 a.m.

The building under construction was a multistory apartment building, WSOC reported.

In a previous news conference, Johnson had said Sherrill was along 15 working at the site when the fire broke out. But on Friday, the mayor said 15 construction workers were rescued.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Share this article: