A number of Grenfell Tower survivors have accused the London Fire Brigade of strategic failures which they say contributed to the amount of lives lost in the blaze.
Survivors hit out at the amount of time it took the fire service to change their advice to residents from ‘stay put’ and wait for rescue to evacuating urgently.
It has emerged that the first emergency call was made at 12.54am on June 14 last year, but crucially it took the fire brigade almost two hours to call for an evacuation at 2.47am – by then it was already too late for some, prompting fury from relatives.
Survivors hit out at the amount of time it took the London Fire Brigade to change their advice from residents to ‘stay put’ and wait for rescue to evacuating urgently. Flora Neda (left), 53, hit out at the fire service for what she considers their slow reaction to the crisis
Flora Neda, 53, an Afghan refugee and one of only two survivors on her floor, hit out at the fire service for what she considers their slow reaction to the crisis.
‘If the fire brigade had evacuated straight away, everybody would have got out alive.
‘The fire brigade knew the fire is very huge an they could not control it. At least if they told us you must save yourselves I am sure most other people would still be alive,’ Ms Neda, whose husband perished in the blaze, told The Telegraph.
Speaking with her son Farhad, 25, who was the only other to escape the 23rd floor, the heartbroken widow spoke of her former army officer husband who was killed.
While fellow survivor Nabil Choucair, 43, whose mother, sister, brother-in-law and three nieces all died, said it was undoubtedly the brigade’s fault for not changing their ‘stay put’ order earlier.
It comes as the sister of a refugee who died in Grenfell Tower told an inquiry that her trust in Britain was destroyed by the fire.
Fathia Ali Ahmed Elsanosi, 73, was found on the 23rd floor alongside her children Abufars Ibrahim, 39, and Isra Ibrahim, 33.
The public inquiry into the tragedy was told that the mother-of-two had fled persecution in Sudan and set up a new home in west London.
Speaking with her son Farhad, 25, who was the only other to escape the 23rd floor, the heartbroken widow spoke of her former army officer husband who was killed
Her sister Hayat Elsanosi said in a statement read through a friend on Thursday afternoon: ‘Fathia came to this country as a refugee seeking security and safety after her struggle with the regime in Sudan, where she and her children had been subjected to harassment.
‘She felt safe here in London. Because of the way she died, this now feels like a illusion for us and definitely for her.
‘Our trust in this country has been destroyed. I cannot begin to describe my life without my sister, her death was a terrible shock for me and I find it very difficult to cope without her.’
The grieving sibling said she had been injured by fire as a teenager, making the manner in which her sister died all the harder to bear.
The sister of a refugee who died in Grenfell Tower told an inquiry that her trust in Britain was destroyed by the fire. Fathia Ali Ahmed Elsanosi, 73, was found on the 23rd floor alongside her children Abufars Ibrahim, 39, and Isra Ibrahim, 33 (pictured Hayat Elsanosi today)
It was the fourth day of commemorations for victims at the public inquiry, which is due to begin public evidence sessions in the coming weeks.
Earlier, it was heard how a mother, Amal Ahmedin, 35, cradled her three-year-old daughter Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin as flames devoured Grenfell Tower on June 14, trying in vain to ‘squeeze the nightmare away’.
Her husband Mohamednur Tuccu, 44, was found dead outside its wreckage, while cousin Amna Mahmud Idris, 27, was cruelly caught up in the tragedy during a visit.
Their grim fate was rued by relatives during a tearful morning of tributes.
Ms Ahmedin’s sister Feruza Afewerki said nearly a year on she ‘still hadn’t been able to make sense of the senseless deaths of innocent and precious lives’.
She told the hearing: ‘Those we grew up with, who shared our fondest memories with, celebrated and mourned, have had their lives stolen from them while the whole of London watched.
Fathia Ali Ahmed Elsanosi, 73, was found on the 23rd floor alongside her children Abufars Ibrahim, 39, and Isra Ibrahim, 33
‘It has been completely surreal and the most painful and devastating time of our lives.’
Her other sister, Winta, fought through tears as she paid tribute to the lost family.
Mother and daughter were found next to each other on the 23rd floor, while the body of Mr Tuccu was recovered close to the nearby leisure centre.
She described how her sister, with whom she shared a bedroom when they were children, used to hold her tightly to ‘squeeze the nightmares away’.
She said: ‘I would hold her (Amaya) tight just like Amal did to me when I was a kid. And that’s where they were when they were burned alive, holding each other tight trying to squeeze the nightmare away.’
Ms Idris had the terrible fortune of visiting the tower on the night it was destroyed by the worst fire to hit Britain since the Second World War.
Her husband Ibrahim told the hearing: ‘She came to live with me in the UK in March 2016. After one year I lost her forever.’
A man who lost five relatives in the fire said he was ‘extremely proud’ his siblings did not abandon their frail parents in the blaze.
Kamru Miah, 79, Rabeya Begum, 64, Mohammed Hamid, 28, Mohammed Hanif, 26 and Husna Begum, 22, were found on the 17th floor.
Mohammed Hakim said: ‘I can say with my hand on my heart that I am extremely proud of my family remaining close to each other in their last moments before passing away.
‘I am even more proud as a brother that my siblings did not leave my parents behind, even though they might have had the chance to escape.’
Mother and daughter Victoria King and Alexandra Atala were also remembered on Thursday.
Sister Penny Pearce said in a statement: ‘They were, and are, still together and that is what is important. The fire is a tragedy for all of us.’
Personal portraits of the 72 victims are expected to continue until next Wednesday at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, South Kensington.
Mother and daughter burned alive at Grenfell died in each other’s arms
A mother and daughter died holding each other tight to squeeze the nightmare of the Grenfell fire away, their family said.
Mohamednur Tuccu, 44, his wife Amal Ahmedin, 35, and their three-year-old daughter Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin, all died in the June 14 blaze last year.
Mother and daughter were found next to each other in the 23rd-floor lobby, while the body of Mr Tuccu was recovered from close to the nearby leisure centre.
Amna Mahmud Idris, 27, was visiting her cousin Ms Ahmedin at the time of the fire and also died.
Ms Ahmedin’s sister, Winta, broke down as she remembered how excited she was to see her three-year-old niece grow up into an ‘amazing’ person.
She told the public inquiry how her sister, who had shared the same bedroom, would hold her tightly as a child when she had bad dreams to squeeze the nightmares away.
She said: ‘I would hold her (Amaya) tight just like Amal did to me when I was a kid.
‘And that’s where they were when they were burned alive, holding each other tight trying to squeeze the nightmare away.
‘To this day and the rest of my life I will never accept that they are gone and that I will never be able to see them again and I will never be able to feel their warmth, their kind and loving hearts.
‘I will continue planning Amaya’s life – what she would be doing today, tomorrow, her 10th birthday, her 18th, her 21st and the rest of her life.
‘We all miss them so much.’
Winta, whose last name was not given, said ‘cheeky’ Amaya was the love of her mother’s life and her sister Ms Ahmedin was an incredible mother.
‘Motherhood brought out a layer of her personality that we were all in awe of,’ she said, adding that her capacity to love was ‘unmatchable’.
She was joined by around a dozen family members on the stage as she made her tribute.
Ibrahim Toukou, Mr Tuccu’s brother from Saudi Arabia, remembered how his sibling would always tell him not to worry when he confided his problems.
Mr Tuccu was a respected employee who always went the extra mile at work, his employers told Mr Toukou.
Speaking in a pre-recorded video, he told of his devastation that he and his brother were unable to ever meet together with their families.
His daughter, now seven, was desperate to meet Amaya and would kiss photographs of her cousin whenever she saw her picture.
He stayed in contact with his brother over Facebook, he said.
He said: ‘I used to dream of us being reunited, I dreamed of us being together as brothers with our families and children.
‘I was always praying to see him at least once after so many years and to meet his family and to have all our children together.’
He added: ‘When I heard the news of the fire I was just praying they would be alive so we could have a chance to meet at least once as a family.’
He said he had not told his children of their relatives’ deaths, instead telling them the trio had gone on a trip.