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Charlotte city leaders, witnesses react to massive fire in the South Park area

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles urged citizens to "refrain from calling 911 unless it is an emergency."

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A five-alarm fire in the SouthPark Mall area of south Charlotte broke out Thursday, causing a massive first responder presence to fight it.

The Charlotte Fire Department responded to the blaze along Liberty Row Drive, not far from SouthPark Towers. Fire officials said over 90 firefighters on the scene rescued 15 workers at the construction site, including one person that was trapped on a crane. That person was rescued by Charlotte firefighters and was transported by Medic with non-life-threatening injuries.

MORE NEWS: More than 90 firefighters 'heroically' rescued 15 workers from massive South Park fire

WCNC Charlotte crews could see large smoke clouds and flames shooting hundreds of feet into the air from the area of Barclay Downs Drive and Fairview Road as they were driving to the scene. 

Charlotte leaders respond to massive South Park fire

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles addressed the fire in several tweets saying "our public safety officials are working very hard to control the 5-alarm fire in the South Park area. Everyone’s safety is of the utmost importance."

The mayor urged citizens to "refrain from calling 911 unless it is an emergency."

Charlotte City Councilmember Tariq Bokhari spoke with WCNC Charlotte's Austin Walker, urging people to stay away from the area as crews worked.

"Don't come over here," Bokhari said. "The gridlock traffic is bad enough on its own, let alone the safety thing."

Several witnesses, including a construction worker, described the massive fire. After the fire started, the worker said he and his colleagues immediately knew the had to get out of there.

The cloud of smoke from the fire was so thick it was registering on the radar. WCNC Charlotte Forecaster Larry Sprinkle said, due to the smoke, the air quality skyrocketed to the "very unhealthy" level

Sprinkle strongly encouraged everyone to stay inside because the dense smoke is in the air, and experts aren't aware yet what is in the smoke chemical-wise.  

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Continuing coverage of five-alarm Charlotte fire

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