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South Park fire | What is a 5-alarm fire?

Each time an alarm increases, that means more personnel and equipment are being called out to the scene.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At least one person was injured in a massive Charlotte fire that engulfed a large building set to become luxury apartments.

Crews arrived on the scene and saw the aggressive flames destroying the building's wood structure which caused beams to collapse.

At 9 a.m. the first call went out, and from there, the alarms continued to escalate. Ultimately, this became a five-alarm fire. 

One of our viewers asked us what these alarms meant. 

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At 9:10 a.m., fire officials pulled a two-alarm. Just 10 minutes later, it became a three-alarm fire. Just before 10 a.m., this apartment complex blaze was designated as a five-alarm fire. 

Over the phone, U.S. Fire Administration's Chief of Business Operations, Smiley White, explained that each time an alarm increases, that means more personnel and equipment are being called out to the scene. 

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He told WCNC Charlotte once a fire escalates beyond a four-alarm, those are massive, rare fire events. The Charlotte Fire Department has 43 fire stations, and to fight this fire, over 90 firefighters were on the scene. 

The best way to look at this is that the higher the alarm, the more personnel and equipment are needed to fight the fire. A four-alarm fire is considered a major fire event. 

Five-alarm fires are pretty rare. In fact, some firefighters will go their entire careers without ever tackling one. When it comes to the Charlotte area, there have been only five notable five-alarm fires in the past eight years.

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 

Continuing coverage of Charlotte's five-alarm fire

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