Six hundred people lived inside 120 flats spread over 24 floors in Grenfell Tower. In just 15 minutes, they were completely consumed by a towering inferno that is believed to have ended dozens of lives
Thursday, 15 June 2017
Grenfell Tower fire: 'number of fatalities' as blaze engulfs London tower block
Two hideous sounds summed up the horror – the screams of children and the sickening thump as people leapt to their deaths.
In scenes akin to New York on 9/11, at least five desperate souls chose to jump from the towering inferno to try to avoid burning to death.
One mother dropped her baby from a ninth-floor window, which was miraculously caught by a man holding out a blanket below.
In just fifteen minutes of horror, 120 homes were turned into a towering inferno.
Others tied bed sheets together to try to form ropes while some attempted to make parachutes out of bin liners.
Residents had been advised to stay in their flats and await rescue. But for those who did, the ferocity of the blaze meant they almost certainly perished.
The stairwell – the only escape route – was engulfed in intense heat and black smoke.
As the flames drew nearer, families phoned their loved ones to say goodbye.
It is almost unbelievable that such a tragedy could unfold in a country with some of the strictest fire regulations in the world.
12:50am and fridge explodes in flat 16
The fate of the 600 residents of Grenfell Tower was sealed shortly before 12.50am, when the fridge in Flat 16 on the fourth floor apparently exploded into flames.
Neighbour Maryam Adam, 41, who is pregnant, said: 'He [her neighbour] knocked on the door, and he said there was a fire in his flat. It was exactly 12.50am because I was sleeping and it woke me up.
'When we got up, I saw outside his flat his luggage – there was a big bag with his clothes.
'That means he took the stuff from his flat, and then he told the neighbours.
'The fire was small in the kitchen. I could see it because the flat door was open. There was no alarm.'
At 12.54am, the fire brigade was called, and the first engines arrived within six minutes. But witnesses said that the speed at which the fire tore up the tower was incredible – like 'a tissue being set alight'.
Samira Lamrini said: 'The man whose flat it was came out and said it was his flat. He was a slim, tall, white British man.
'He was pointing at the fire on a lower floor and said, 'That's my flat, that's it'. He said it was his fridge that had exploded.
'He started filming it on his phone. He was upset but I don't think he had a clue about the scale of what was happening.
'After that the fire went up in minutes, it was so fast. The speed with which it took hold was terrifying. It was like a tissue being set alight. It just went whoosh, so quickly. I didn't see him after that.'