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The 21st floor

On the evening of the fireplace, the Gomes circle of relatives were out for dinner, however were asleep for a number of hours once they had been woken up by means of Helen Gebremeskel and her daughter Lulya, 12, who lived around the hall in Flat 186.
Helen and Lulya had already attempted to get out of the construction and had met the El Wahabis from flat 182 at the manner.

By the time they knocked at the Gomeses’ door, it was once between 01:30 and 02:00. “[Helen] was panicking a little bit. I closed the door to stop the smoke. It was already thick, black smoke,” says Marcio.

These two households – the Gomes circle of relatives of 4 with Helen, her daughter, Lulya, and two canines – spent the following two terrifying hours ready as smoke began to fill the flat. Marcio stuffed the bathtub with water and ran the bathe. With all of the home windows open, the 2 households stayed low to the bottom to take a look at to stay underneath the smoke.

All of the adults had conversations with the emergency services and products and had been informed to stick put, that firefighters would come to rescue them.
They had buddies outdoor the tower who had been observing the construction burn and had been calling them to mention they will have to get out, together with Miguel and Fatima Alves who lived at the 13th floor. They’re additionally from Portugal and Miguel and Marcio play soccer in combination each week.

Once the Alves circle of relatives had escaped from the construction, they started to name Marcio to inform him he will have to get his circle of relatives out. Tension grew as the fireplace unfold and other people become trapped by means of dense smoke, particularly the ones citizens at the most sensible flooring of the tower.

“I’m very non secular and I kneeled down and I begged our girl of Fatima to give protection to them, to give protection to everyone within the construction, however particularly them as a result of they’re Portuguese and we knew them,” says Fatima Alves.

Helen was once more and more fearful.
“At one point I think I asked one of my friends, ‘Can we speak to the fire people or the police you know?’ And she let me talk to them and we asked them, ‘What shall we do?’ And they say to us, ‘Someone is going to come and take you out,’” says Helen.

“That’s what they say to us from two to three o’clock. So we’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting. And then we call again and we asked them. And they said, ‘No, stay in, do not come out. Don’t come out, don’t come out.’”

So the Gomes circle of relatives and the Gebremeskels waited.

At about 03:30, Marcio and Andreia’s bed room stuck hearth.
“My room is on fire. Just like that. My curtains are on fire. My Moses basket is on fire. All that side of the window is on fire,” says Marcio. “I looked at them and I said, ‘We have to go now. There’s no turning back. It’s now or never.’”

Marcio tied rainy tea towels round everybody’s faces, wrapped rainy sheets round them and gave explicit directions in regards to the order during which they must depart. They started the descent within the pitch black, gagging as they tried to get down 21 flooring of smoke-filled stairs.

They discovered themselves treading at the lifeless and the demise – different Grenfell citizens who, like them, had attempted to get out of the construction earlier than passing out at the stairs.

“We were just going, just going and going, because if we don’t keep going, we’re going to die,” says Helen.

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