Five Alarms in Charlotte

Updates: Added link to chart comparing fire with Raleigh’s Metropolitan fire. June 2, 2023. Added link to incident diagram. May 28, 2023.

Brett Lipman photo top, Shevaun Bryan photo bottom left, TBD bottom right

Listen to radio traffic (YouTube)

View a diagram of the scene (JPG)

Read comparison with Raleigh’s Metropolitan fire in 2017

Five alarms were struck in Charlotte on May 18, 2023, for an apartment building under construction. Modera SouthPark at 7740 Liberty Row Drive. 

Below is a run card and notes from listening to the radio traffic.  


– Five alarms
– Dispatched 9:04 a.m. as vehicle fire in parking deck, at the base of the fire building.
– Fire spread to apartment building under construction, above the deck, Modera SouthPark at 7740 Liberty Row Drive. Seven-story structure with 180K/190K square-feet.
– 15 people rescued, including a tower crane operator
– Mayday issued, two firefighters rescued
– Two civilians treated and released with minor injuries
– One construction worker later found, deceased
– One more construction worker unaccounted for
– Over 90 firefighters on scene
– Ladder 2 damaged, among other apparatus
– Collapses on three sides
– Damage to nearby buildings, including rooftop fires due to spreading embers
– Damage to several cars in the parking deck, from the high heat

Run Card

See this Facebook posting for the time being. 

Narrative Notes

Transcribed from radio traffic.

Also, ahem, selective notes. They’re not comprehensive.

Listen at

First Alarm

– Dispatched 9:04 a.m.
– B5 E14 E2 E12 L16 – First alarm
– Vehicle fire 7741 Liberty Row Drive
– Unattached trailer mid-rise parking deck
– L16 first-arriving, heavy smoke showing
– L16 requests working fire for mid-rise assignment
– B1 E43 INV3 R10 Safety 1 – Working fire
– Request for two additional ladders
– L1 adds self
– Car 10 dispatched
– L2 dispatched

Second Alarm

– B7 E39 E20 E24 INV5 L24 Rehab 1 – Second alarm [09:10]
– Workers on scene advise that trailer contains liquid used for insulation. Haz-mat response requested.
– Car 2 dispatched
– Car 20 dispatched
– HM13 en route
– Car 19 dispatched
– Car 15 dispatched
– HM13 dispatched
– Caller in tower advises they can see the trailer fully involved, crews may be on the wrong side of the structure.
– Car 209 dispatched
– Attention, second alarm has been declared.
– Reports of two workers trapped on fourth floor. Request for 40-foot ladder.
– HM32 en route [?].
– Tower 26 dispatched
– HM32 dispatched
– L32 dispatched
– Car 205, Car 202 dispatched
– Seat of fire found [09:18]
– Car 10 now has command. Strike third alarm. Please set staging for both second and third alarms [09:20]
– Screaming/shouting. All companies, evacuate structure. [09:20]

Third Alarm

– B3 E19 E10 E17 L4 – Third alarm [09:20]
– Attention, third alarm has been declared.
– Station reassignment, L23 > Sta 16.
– Car 14 dispatched
– Staging at Fairview and Piedmont
– Car 16 dispatched
– Attention, all companies operating, evacuate structure [09:22]
– Car 4, E8 dispatched
– L1, set your aerial up.
– Station reassignment, E40 > Sta 24
– Request to start PAR [09:23]
– Station reassignment, E65 > Sta 16
– Request for ladder in-between buildings
– L24 has been set-up, opposite side of L2
– Station reassignment, E28 > Sta 20
– E6 dispatched
– Companies coming down balconies, use caution, lots of glass coming down
– E32 dispatched
– Attention all companies, this will be all-defensive. Also changing command structure, assigning new division. [09:30]
– Still have a crane operator trapped. “He’s getting impatient.”

Fourth Alarm – Automatic Dispatch Upon Mayday Transmission

– B8, E5, E4, E3, L3, [09:31]
– “…bail out and we’ll get you off to the side.” [09:32]
– Attention, fourth alarm has been declared.
– Command receives mayday from L1. [09:33]
– Sixth floor [stairwell?]. Need two RIT packs.
– Car 800 dispatched
– All other companies than RIT, hold traffic.
– L1 is evacuating.
– L1, all personnel are out of structure. Mayday can be cancelled. [09:38]
– Car 21 with emergency traffic. Crane operator reports high heat in the cab. But there’s a breeze [so he’s getting air?] [09:39]
– Put L2 straight up, to protect the crane operator.
– Station reassignment, E40 > Sta 32
– Need to move L2, the heat is melting the lens
– Station reassignment, L32 > Sta 1
– Crane operator is 160 feet above ground.
– Partial collapse on delta side, fire building, impinging on parking deck next door. [09:42]
– Other collapse conditions note, possible partial collapse of crane.
– All companies on B side, begin evacuating that area. [09:44]
– Ladder 2 remaining in place. Only thing protecting the crane operator.
– Car 2 now command.
– Directions to move apparatus, shut down ladders, move out of collapse.
– B division to command, urgent traffic. [09:47]
– Collapse on this side, leaving Ladder 2 alone, flowing. Truck is being sacrificed at this time.
– Station reassignment, E27 > Sta 2
– Also unmanned monitors on B division.
– A side beginning to collapse [09:49]
– Crane needs water on it, near the base. Starting to off gas.
– Some cars on fire in the parking deck.
– Station reassignment, E33 > Sta 39
– E14 and L16 catching on fire. Working on moving.
– Station reassignment, E18 > Sta 18
– Collapse on C side now.
– INV2 dispatched
– Give me another alarm. [09:56]
– R10 personnel at base of crane, with rope and harness for rescue. [09:56]

Fifth Alarm

– B4 E11 E16 E28 L27 [09:56]
– Don’t put the personnel on the crane, it looks like it’s [something has fallen over, onto the crane?]
– Attention, fifth alarm has been declared [09:58]
– Attention “B” side companies, get ready for a collapse. Move out of the collapse zone.
– Recommend getting a helicopter from CMPD or NCANG for aerial rescue.
– Report of four people on balcony of hotel directly across, trapped.
– L31 dispatched
– E65 dispatched
– Car 7 dispatched
– Station reassignment, L23 > Sta 24
– _____ dispatched
– All companies, B/C corner about to collapse. [10:05]
– Can you notify water department, we need pressure boost?
– [ Discussion of crew inside exposure, with fire impinging ]
– We need to get water on that crane.
– We can see the crane operator, he’s still moving around.
– We’re in communication with the crane operator. Just keep it cool, he’s flyin’ high, he’s doing good.
– Working on communicating with NCANG in Salisbury for helo rescue.
– All crane rescue/RIT companies change to separate radio channel
– Need water “all over” the crane, mainly on the operator. Once it cools down, rescue will go and get him. It’s extremely hot, but its integrity seems intact.
– Crane operating has exited cab. Ready to climb down shaft. [10:11]
– “B” side companies, move to another channel (Hotel).
– Station reassignment, E33 > Sta 10
– L18 > Sta 4
– Rescue is “fixing to climb” the tower. [10:14]
– Can we get water supply on another channel? [10:15]
– Station reassignment, Pineville E2 > Sta 39
– Station reassignment, Harrisburg E2 > Sta 27
– Exposure building (Hilton Canopy Building) is catching on fire, they’re trying to evacuate people [10:17]
– Station reassignment, Steele Creek E1 > Sta 26
– Stop ladder flowing on tower. [10:19]
– Rescue 10 is attempting rescue of tower operator.
– CMPD helicopter en route as back up, landing zone identified, but they don’t have any rope or mechanism to lift. – Need NCANG unit out of Salisbury.
– Station reassignment, [unintelligible] > Sta 42
– CMPD helicopter has landing. Request for NCANG has been declined.
– All units on Charlie, hold traffic unless urgent unless you’re part of the crane rescue team.
– RIT packs, gloves, etc. all ready for crane operator, when he comes down. [10:29]
– Attention all stations/units, per Deputy Fire Chief, do not call into Fire Alarm (dispatch) on radio unless you have an emergency.
– INV5, dispatched
– Discussion of equipment for helo, if it’s needed. [Sounds like they have a workaround, to perform helo rescue.]
– Mention of fire [on roof?] of Hilton Canopy Building.
– Mention of crane rescue crew, three firefighters. Changing/swapping positions [bottles? Equipment?] as they go up.
– Crews using extinguishers at rear of Hilton Canopy Building, need more extinguishers. [10:34]
– Highway Patrol has helicopter available, do they want them? Yes, have them come.
– Mention of a call that E40 was dispatched to, Carolina FD is handling.
– Crane operator is just outside cab, he exited as the cab had started burning.
– Is he coming down, or am I going up. He doesn’t have any gloves and it’s hot. If you can, go up and get him. [10:38]
– Reports of multiple spot fires in the building. Also, fire alarms throughout the building. [Hilton Canopy Building?]
– Crane operator has been reached, rescue company member “has got him” and on the way down. [10:41]
– Crane operator now safe, being moved to “C” side to be looked at by MEDIC. [10:43]
– Cancel both CMPD and SHP helicopters
– L4 setting up for exposure building
– Suggest repurposing L26 to hit sixth floor of exposure building before “it gets away from us.
– Another exposure building “just has smoke” [10:46]
– “Eight additional alarms from the alarm company”
– “Any company that does not have an assignment report to rehab”
– Car 13 dispatched
– L4 flowing into sixth floor of exposure building. [10:52]
– Crane looks stable, does not look like its leaning, etc.
– E16 removing smoke from their building.
– Two rehabs have been set up. [10:56]
– Crane company will bring equipment to measure the crane, to assess its stability and if it’s a hazard.
– We are transferring from protecting the crane frame to protecting the “B” exposure. [11:00]
– Station Reassignment, Tanker 33 > Sta 43
– Station Reassignment, Tanker 35 > Sta 11
– Station Reassignment, Tanker 40 > Sta 6
– Station Reassignment, Concord E9 > Sta 27
– Station Reassignment, Cornelius E3 [H&L 44] > Sta 27

Additional Alarm

– B21 [?], B25, E1, E30, E33, L23 – Working fire, 6135 Park South Drive (fire on roof, nearby building)
– Tanker 37 dispatched – 6135 Park South Drive
– Station Reassignment, [garbled] > Sta [garbled]
– [garbled], dispatched – 6135 Park South Drive
– Brush 5, dispatched – 6135 Park South Drive
– B4, dispatched – 6135 Park South Drive
– Car 904, Rescue 89 [reserve] on scene – 6135 Park South Drive
– Davidson Tower 1 answering calls in city
– B27 in command on Park South [11:15]

– Rehab [at main fire] moving to separate channel

– Park South Drive, several spot fires found, requesting roof saws

[ Transcription stopped at 11:17:07, after Fire Ops 1B transmission lasting 17 seconds ]

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *