An apparent predictable disaster, your worst nightmare and a dream you never wanted to come true.
Grenfell Tower, residents to between 400-600 people, containing 120 flats over 24 floors was engulfed in a fire that started like what seems to be an easily controllable fire and then very quickly spread and consumed all in its path.
The devastation and havoc caused in the wake of this fire are emerging with some heart-wrenching stories.
So far, seventeen lives lost, several injured, fifteen critically, but crucially, several people remained unaccounted for which raised the fears that the number of fatalities will rise.
The cause of the fire, why it spread in such a quick and devastating manner with no mechanisms to slow it down and limit damage and loss of lives will no doubt be subjects of investigations for weeks, months and if not years to come.
To underline the enormity of work needed to be done to get to the bottom of these and the seriousness, the Prime Minister have promised an independent public enquiry. Although people have raised fears of a prolonged process and delay that usually come with a public enquiry.
Whatever the outcomes of the investigations are, it would not in any way be a consolation to the families in what seems to be an avoidable loss of lives.
While there is accusations, speculations and finger pointing as you would expect at this stage of the incidents, none of the obvious questions has been answered.
Whose fault, was it?
Is it poor or inadequate regulations by the Government?
Is it lack of adherence to regulations by the management company? In this case, Kensington and Chelsea TMO?
Is it RYDON construction? the company that carried out the £10m refurbishment just under two years ago? was there evidence of corner-cutting?
Residents have made their concern known, particularly around fire safety, was this ignored?
The stay-put policy in operation in this tower was designed for safety reasons, in these instances, it seems it achieved directly the opposite objectives by acting as a death trap. Stay-put policy is to prevent panic and stop people whose flat or section of the building where they are is not on fire from rushing out, in order to avoid clogging up of the stairway and allowing rescue and fire services access to do their work.
This is with the provision that there are mechanisms built into the structure that would prevent rapid fire movement, and buy rescue services enough time to reach trapped people.
If these mechanisms are not in place for whatever reasons will and should someone be criminally responsible? Considering that some of those that did not heed this stay-put advice survived by fleeing? And almost all that stay-put were consumed or presumed consumed by the fire?
David Lammy, Labour’s Tottenham MP, have called for corporate manslaughter charges to be brought. No doubt, still very early In the investigation, but demands for urgent and quick answers from people are well understood.
In the meantime, real people are affected, and the impacts are real and ongoing.
The images and stories from Grenfell Tower will break any heart.
There was a story of a woman who threw her child out of the window from the 10th floor, she herself disappeared into the inferno seconds later, what happened to her next can only be left to everyone’s imagination with horror. The eye witness who recounted this particular story could not confirm if the child made it or not.
There was the story of Zainab, on the 14th floor with her two-year-old son Jeremiah who heeded the stay-put policy advice, even though her brother Dean told her on the phone to flee. She stayed. After some time, the phone line went silent. Zainab and her son remained unaccounted for.
There was the story of Mohammed, a Syrian who came to the UK for protection and safety but is now presumed dead. Mohammed, like many, stayed, he was on the phone waiting to be rescued, when the fire reached him, he told his friends to inform his family, that was the last message from Mohammed.
Mohammed was expected to attend the Syrian refugee community event on Saturday, but friends now plan to hold prayers for him.
An Italian couple Marco Gottardi and girlfriend Gloria Trevisan, both architects both arrived London last year were also caught in the fire.
They were both on the phones to their respective parents in Italy. According to the Italian press, they were told to remain in their flat, that everything was under control. In subsequent calls, Marco told his parents that the fire had reached them, there was nothing they could do except to wish for a miracle.
The story of Rania Ibrham was trapped on the 24th floor with her two children, she made a live Facebook video and recounted the event as it unfolded.
These stories and much more are real and ongoing experiences of people, as the death toll is expected to rise, the losses both in properties and lives are unquantifiable.
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