Father of four Demonte Sherill, 30, was one of two workers unaccounted for after the fire at the SouthPark Mall in Charlotte on Thursday.
His mother Onita Sherrill told WSOC she watched her son’s final moments alive on a Facebook Live video call as he pleaded for help.
“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 told the local news site.
Ms Sherrill said she felt numb and still in shock after the ordeal.
Footage posted to the Charlotte Fire Department’s Twitter account showed firefighters battling four-storey-high flames at the development on Liberty Row Drive.
Demonte Sherrill’s death has not been confirmed by authorities, who have only said that two construction workers were unaccounted for. Fifteen workers were rescued from the fire, the Charlotte Fire Department said.
His father Terry Campbell told WSOC that he raced to the scene after hearing about the fire, and was told by a construction site boss that his son hadn’t made it.
Mr Campbell said his son had been working hard to provide for his four children, who are aged five to 13.
“He was doing real good at it, so I was very, very proud of him,” his father said.
A crane operator spotted two workers trapped on a balcony on the fourth floor, and tried to save them by swinging a basket to them, WCOS reported.
But the blaze was too intense, and he couldn’t reach the two men.
“We got the crane over there on the basket and tried to get them into the basket so we could get them down but that is when the smoke started to get blacked out and we had no view of them,” construction worker Alexa Escobar told the news site.
The name of the second construction worker killed in the fire has not yet been released.