Britain’s top fire union chief has hit back at damning criticism of firefighters in the Grenfell report as he accused Government ministers of ‘evading scrutiny’.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigade Union, slammed the official inquiry and said it was being carried out ‘back-to-front’.
He argued that those responsible for wrapping the tower block in ‘flammable cladding’ should have faced scrutiny before the actions of ‘brave’ firefighters.
It comes as a phase 1 report into the 2017 tragedy found systematic failures by the London Fire Brigade caused a greater number of deaths in the inferno.
The report, which leaked last night, found that fire chiefs’ slavish adherence to the controversial ‘stay put’ policy prevented residents from escaping.
It is thought up to 55 of the 72 people who died were told to stay in flats for almost two hours after the first 999 call, despite flames spreading with terrifying speed.
Speaking this morning, former firefighter and MP Jim Fitzpatrick said that every firefighter would be ‘feeling guilty today’ following criticism from the inquiry.
The report found that fire chiefs’ slavish adherence to the controversial ‘stay put’ policy prevented residents from escaping the blaze (pictured)
Firefighters gather at the building after the huge fire engulfed it in the early hours of June 14, 2017
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigade Union, slammed the official inquiry and said it was being carried out ‘back-to-front’
The phase 1 report – investigating the response to the fire – will be officially published tomorrow morning, while phase 2 – looking into the condition of the tower and how it came to be wrapped with cladding – will begin in 2020.
Mr Wrack argued that firefighters were being unfairly criticised ahead of government officials as the phases were being conducted in the wrong order.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today progamme: ‘We have said from the start that the inquiry is back to front, you should look at the causation of what happened to the building, who took the decisions and also the regime that allows that to happen. There are government ministers who are evading scrutiny in this process.
‘People will be baffled why people haven’t already been prosecuted for doing that a building which led to the deaths of 72 people and yet the individual actions of firefighters on the night of a fire are being subjected to scrutiny.’
‘Firefighters put their lives in danger all through that night. The real causes of what happened to Grenfell tower and why flammable cladding was wrapped around the building, that hasn’t been addressed.’
The report also accuses LFB commissioner Dany Cotton of ‘remarkable insensitivity’ after she gave testimony insisting she would have done nothing differently.
The report, which leaked last night, found that fire chiefs’ slavish adherence to the controversial ‘stay put’ policy prevented residents from escaping
Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s scathing conclusions over 1,000 pages
Cause of blaze
It started due to an electrical fault in a fridge-freezer in flat 16 on the fourth floor. Flat owner Behailu Kebede will be absolved of any blame.
More than 200 survivors and bereaved families are suing Whirlpool, which supplied the Hotpoint model in the flat.
The London Fire Brigade’s preparation and planning for such a fire was ‘gravely inadequate’. Experienced incident commanders had ‘no training’ on the dangers of combustible cladding or on how to evacuate a high-rise block.
At the scene
Firefighters displayed ‘extraordinary bravery’ but incident commanders failed to recognise that a full evacuation may have been necessary.
If the decision to evacuate had been made it would have ‘resulted in fewer fatalities’.
Crucial information was not shared by senior officers.
There were ‘shortcomings in practice, policy and training’.
Call handlers did not always obtain the necessary information and were unaware of when to tell residents to evacuate.
The report criticises the London Fire Brigade’s commissioner for her ‘remarkable insensitivity’ after she told a hearing in September 2018 she would change nothing about its response to the fire.
The ‘principle reason’ that the flames spread so quickly up the tower block was due to the rain screen panels which ‘acted as a source of fuel’.
The insulation boards behind the cladding panels also accelerated the fire’s spread. These features were added during a refurbishment several months before the fire.
The failures of the building’s safety design were ‘rapid’. Many lobbies filled with fire 26 minutes after it started.
But Sir Martin Moore-Bick said stairs were ‘not absolutely impassable’ over an hour into it.
The tower’s external walls failed to comply with building regulations. There is ‘compelling evidence’ the walls did not ‘accurately resist the spread of fire’ but ‘actively promoted it’.
Survivors are angry that Miss Cotton, Britain’s most senior firefighter, is being allowed to retire next year at the age of 50 on a full pension estimated to be worth as much as £2 million.
In her evidence to the inquiry in September last year, Miss Cotton said: ‘I wouldn’t change anything we did on the night.’
She also claimed no training could have prepared the fire crews, saying: ‘I wouldn’t develop a training package for a space shuttle to land in front of the Shard.’
Mr Wrack said he did not agree with Miss Cotton’s assessment, adding: ‘On my first day at training school, I was taught that you learn something from every incident that you attend and you adapt your knowledge based on those experiences.’
Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the retired judge who chaired the public inquiry, found that a full evacuation should have been implemented at least an hour before the order was given.
The report will fuel demands for the fire brigade to be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter.
Fire chiefs have already been interviewed under caution by police over possible breaches of health and safety regulations.
The blaze broke out at 12.54am and was out of control within minutes.
But the ‘stay put’ strategy – designed for tower block fires where the blaze is contained to a single flat – was only rescinded at 2.47am.
Today on Good Morning Britain, former firefighter Jim Fitzpatrick MP claimed that on the night of the fire the building had not behaved as it was expected to.
He said: ‘Nobody is hiding from this, all I was saying is there has been failure right across the piece in terms of the regulations the Government has laid down.
‘The materials, construction methods, the design aren’t as safe as they ought to be and that’s a failure of Government in terms of regulation, it’s a failure of architects, designer engineers, construction companies… and in that instance there is failure right across the piece.’
He added: ‘It was an absolutely horrendous night, many of them risked their lives to rescue people in the tower… every firefighter will be feeling guilty today.
‘Nobody is going to take anything from this other than guilt.’
Sir Martin states in his report: ‘That decision could and should have been made between 1.30am and 1.50am and would be likely to have resulted in fewer fatalities.
The best part of an hour was lost before Assistant Commissioner (Andy) Roe revoked the ‘stay put’ advice.’
Sir Martin said there were ‘a number of serious shortcomings in the response of the LFB’ and found that these were ‘for the most part systemic in nature’.
Survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster joined by firefighters and supporters on the monthly silent march at Grenfell Tower on August 14, 2019 in London
The revelation comes ahead of the publication on Wednesday of the long-awaited first report from the inquiry in which the LFB is likely to be heavily criticised
Speaking this morning, former firefighter and MP Jim Fitzpatrick said that every firefighter would be ‘feeling guilty today’ following criticism from the inquiry
When could people or firms face criminal action over Grenfell?
One of the biggest investigations in the history of the Metropolitan Police is being carried out into the 2017 disaster, which killed 72 people including 18 children.
But the force has been told to wait until the public inquiry into the blaze has published its final report before passing evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider any criminal charges.
This could mean that a decision will not be made until 2022, five years on from the disaster.
The investigation, called Operation Northleigh, is looking at the construction, refurbishment and management of the tower, as well as the emergency response on the night of the fire.
A team of 180 police officers and staff are working on the probe, which is looking at potential gross negligence manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences.
Around 200 companies that had some involvement with the tower are of relevance to the investigation, which cost £4.2 million last year, not including staff costs.
He added: ‘The ‘stay put’ concept had become an article of faith within the LFB so powerful that to depart from it was to all intents and purposes unthinkable.’
In his 1,000-page report, which was leaked to The Daily Telegraph last night, Sir Martin makes 46 recommendations following a two-year investigation into how the fire in the west London tower block unfolded on June 14, 2017.
He says the ‘principal reason’ why the flames shot up the 24-storey high-rise at such speed was the combustible aluminium cladding used in the refurbishment of the tower.
The report also concludes the fire started as the result of an ‘electrical fault in a large fridge-freezer’ in a fourth-floor flat.
That finding is likely to bolster a multi-million-pound lawsuit being brought in the US against the corporation Whirlpool, manufacturers of the Hotpoint model that caught fire.
But Sir Martin reserves his most damning criticism for the fire service.
He praises the heroics and bravery of individual firefighters but says a relatively junior commander, Michael Dowden, was left in charge for far too long as the tragedy unfolded.
Sir Martin describes the lack of training at the fire services as an ‘institutional’ failure.
He concludes: ‘Quite apart from its remarkable insensitivity to the families of the deceased and to those who escaped from their burning homes with their lives, the commissioner’s evidence that she would not change anything about the response of the LFB on the night, even with the benefit of hindsight, only serves to demonstrate that the LFB is an institution at risk of not learning the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire.’
He also says Miss Cotton’s evidence ‘betrayed an unwillingness to confront the fact that by 2017 the LFB knew (even if she personally did not) that there was a more than negligible risk of a serious fire in a high-rise building with a cladding system.’
A graphic showing the people who died on the various floors of Grenfell Tower
Nabil Choucair, who lost six members of his family in the blaze, said: ‘Dany Cotton is a disgrace to say she would not change anything.
‘She should in no way be given her pension until she is 65.’
Announcing her retirement at the time Miss Cotton said: ‘The utter devastation of the Grenfell Tower fire and its impact on so many people will never leave me.
‘I want to reassure my staff and all those affected by the tragedy that I will remain dedicated to leading London Fire Brigade through any findings from phase one of the Public Inquiry and into phase two which is expected to begin next January.
The report also accuses LFB commissioner Dany Cotton (pictured) of ‘remarkable insensitivity’ after she gave testimony insisting she would have done nothing differently
The report will be officially published tomorrow morning.
Part two of the inquiry – examining the circumstances and causes of the disaster – begins in January.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: ‘The Inquiry’s findings are not being published until Wednesday morning and it would be inappropriate for us to comment on them until then.’
An inquiry spokeswoman said the chairman and whole team were ‘dismayed and disappointed’ that media had ‘chosen to deprive those most affected by the fire – the bereaved, survivors and residents – the opportunity to read the report at their own pace and without the distraction of public discussion and commentary ahead of publication’.
She added: ‘The inquiry has no further comment to make at this time.’
Yesterday MPs urged that the Home Office must ‘look again’ and increase the resources allocated to fire and rescue services.
Tory Philip Davies said fire and rescue services across the UK were ‘extremely stretched’ and ‘need extra resources in the way that the police do’.
The report covers the first phase of the Grenfell inquiry and was due to be published in Easter, before several delays
The Grenfell Tower Inquiry have been critical of the release of information from the report prior to the official release on Wednesday
Home Office Minister Kit Malthouse said he is ‘confident fire and rescue services have the resources they need’ to do their job effectively.
He added that the Government will ‘have to learn lessons’ about fire safety from the Grenfell inquiry, which is due to be published shortly.
Fire chiefs had ‘no Plan B’ after the ‘Stay Put’ advice failed
Fire chiefs tackling the Grenfell Tower blaze have been accused of having no ‘Plan B’ when the infamous ‘Stay Put’ advice failed.
Firefighters told residents to remain in their homes as flames consumed the 24-storey block in June 2017, but strict rules meant there should have been an alternative written plan to help families escape.
Instead, people were forced to flee the building ‘sporadically’ as it became clear it was too dangerous to remain inside.
Firefighters tackling blazes in high-rise buildings were advised that ‘contingency plans for particular premises should cover: an operational evacuation plan being required in the event the ‘Stay Put’ policy becomes untenable’, according to Government rules.
But the London Fire Brigade’s so-called Operational Risk Database (ORD) for Grenfell Tower, which was submitted to the inquiry into the disaster, makes no mention of a contingency plan.
In evidence at the inquiry, Grenfell Tower’s fire risk assessor Carl Stokes said: ‘There can be no doubt that GRA 3.2 [a section of the Generic Risk Assessment] required the LFB to have an operational contingency plan in the event that the Stay Put policy became untenable… the ORD template has a space for the ‘Operational Contingency Plan’, which it seems, for the Tower, was not completed.
‘No evidence about the existence of an Operation Contingency Plan has been given.’
He added: ‘On one view of the evidence, when Stay Put was changed, the alternative employed was a sporadic call to self-evacuation which relied on residents calling into the LFB, rather than the LFB having an operational means of contacting them.’
Conservative MP Philip Davies (Shipley) said: ‘I certainly support the Government in their recruiting of an extra 20,000 police officers, but could I ask the minister to look again at the resources for the fire service?
‘Because they certainly are, in West Yorkshire and I suspect in other parts of the country too, extremely stretched at the moment.
‘The number of people on a fire engine is going down to try and mask over these stretched resources, so can I ask (Mr Malthouse) to look again, because the fire service need extra resources in the way that the police do too.’
In response, Mr Malthouse said: ‘We have instituted recently, and had the results of, the first inspection regime of fire and rescue services for some time, which has been reassuring in parts, but does point towards particular areas that we need to address.
‘As I say, we had a good settlement from the Treasury this year from a financial point of view, and it will be for local fire and service chiefs to decide how they invest that extra money.’
Labour’s Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford) asked what the Government is doing to ensure the recruitment and retention of fire officers, particularly those who specialise in inspecting high-rise buildings in light of the Grenfell tragedy.
Asking a departmental question to Home Office Ministers in the Commons, Ms Foxcroft said: ‘Since Grenfell, London Fire Brigade has undertaken focused and enhanced visits to high-rise buildings using both station based crews and fire safety inspecting officers.
‘Inspecting officers are highly skilled individuals who ensure that those with responsibility for buildings are taking the necessary steps to uphold fire safety standards.
‘So what is the Minister doing to support brigades in recruiting and retaining officers in these essential, specialist roles?’
Mr Malthouse said: ‘The Grenfell inquiry is due to be published shortly, we’ll all have to learn lessons from the conclusions of that inquiry when it arises.’
He continued: ‘We have secured an extremely good financial settlement for the fire service across the country this year, and I would urge fire chiefs, not least in light of the first ever set of inspections for some time, to invest in prevention.’
Grieving relatives reveal human toll of Grenfell Tower
Victims of the Grenfell fire were remembered during seven harrowing days of commemorations as the inquiry into the disaster opened at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel.
The families and friends of three victims, Marco Gottardi, flat 202, Abdeslam Sebbar, flat 81, and Sheila, flat 137, chose not to publicly commemorate their loved ones.
Here are the people who lost their lives in the blaze, in the order they were remembered by their family and friends:
– Logan Gomes (floor 21)
Logan Gomes was stillborn in hospital after his mother Andreia escaped from the 21st floor with her husband and two young girls.
His mother and father gave an emotional tribute to their ‘beautiful sleeping angel’ sharing images of them cradling the newborn, whose due date was in August.
His father, Marcio Gomes, said through tears: ‘He might not be here physically but he will always be here in our hearts, and will be forever. I know he’s here, with God, right next to me, giving me strength and courage to take this forward.’
– Denis Murphy (floor 14)
Father-of-one Denis Murphy, 56, was described as the ‘lynchpin’ of his family whose ‘cheeky smile’ was hard to forget.
His sister Anne-Marie recalled during her tribute how Mr Murphy had once joined the Unite bus union to the bafflement of his family, as he could not drive a car, ‘let alone a bus’.
‘The reason is that he wanted to be a part of the campaign to make his voice and the voice of the community in Grenfell Tower heard.’
– Mohamed Amied Neda (floor 23)
Mohamed Amied Neda, 57, lived on the top floor of the block and died from injuries consistent with a fall.
Known as Saber, he had fled the Taliban in Afghanistan to find a new home in Britain with his wife Flora and son Farhad, moving into Grenfell Tower in 1999.
His final recorded words – left for family members on the night of the fire – were played during one of the inquiry’s more harrowing moments, and were: ‘Goodbye, we are leaving this world now, goodbye. I hope I haven’t disappointed you. Goodbye to all.’
– Joseph Daniels
Little was disclosed about Joseph Daniels during a presentation on the first day of the inquiry, as his son, Samuel, spoke for only seconds.
The 69-year-old moved to Grenfell Tower in 1982.
Samuel requested no applause before saying: ‘The events of that night took his life and all traces of his existence from this world. He stood no chance of getting out and this should never have happened.’
– Mary Mendy and Khadija Saye (floor 20)
Mary Mendy was remembered in presentations across two days, during which it was heard she had moved to the UK from Gambia, west Africa, in the 1980s.
The 54-year-old died in Grenfell Tower with her daughter Khadija Saye, having moved there in 1993.
A statement by her niece Marion Telfer read at the inquiry said: ‘She was warm and kind, she welcomed everyone into her home. Grenfell Tower was a place all her family and friends could find shelter if they ever needed it.’
Mary Mendy and Khadija Saye
One of the fire’s most high-profile victims, Khadija Saye, 24, died when she was on the cusp of a major career breakthrough.
Her friend David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, was among those on stage during her commemoration, which featured a snippet from the BBC documentary she had been due to appear in, following her as she launched a photography exhibition in Venice.
Her father, Mohammadou Saye, said in a statement read by his solicitor: ‘Khadija said to me one day: ‘Daddy, I’m in love with images’ – it was this passion that Khadija pursued to the end because it gave her great satisfaction and brough her some joy and happiness.
– Debbie Lamprell (floor 19)
The 45-year-old Debbie Lamprell, who worked front of house at Opera Holland Park (OHP), was described as always having a smile on her face and living a ‘happy and fulfilled’ life.
In a statement, her mother Miriam said: ‘She really loved her work, she was really, really happy with her life.
Where the victims were found
‘You rarely saw my Debbie without a smile. People took to Debbie because she was a friendly, easy person.’
– Maria del Pilar Burton (floor 19)
Maria del Pilar Burton is now considered the 72nd victim of the fire, despite dying in January after experiencing a stroke.
The 74-year-old, known as Pily, suffered from dementia, a condition which worsened badly after the disaster and meant she never left hospital, her husband, Nicholas Burton, said.
Her vibrancy and passion for cooking, fashion and dancing were among the qualities remembered by Mr Burton during the inquiry, who said: ‘She was a unique, beautiful, exceptional person until this tragedy had taken it away.
‘It took away her dignity and everything we had in this world. And let me tell you, no matter what indignities my wife had to suffer, my Pily was perfect.’
– Rania Ibrahim, Fethia Hassan, Hania Hassan (floor 23)
Mother Rania Ibrahim died alongside her two young children Fethia, a four-year-old known as ‘Fou Fou’ and Hania, three.
The 31-year-old live-streamed the scene of the blaze to friends and family on social media, who watched helplessly as her flat became clogged with smoke.
Her husband, Hassan Awadh Hassan, who was in Egypt at the time, told the inquiry: ‘I’m not just standing here crying because my wife is gone. My wife and my kids are very lucky. Because the way it’s going, I wish if I go like them. I wait for my day.’
– Choucair family
Three generations of the Choucair family, who lived in two flats on the 22nd floor, were wiped out by the blaze.
Nadia, 33, her husband Bassem Choukair, 40, their three children Mierna, 13, Fatima, 11, and Zainab, three, died along with their grandmother Sirria, 60.
Hisam Choucair, brother of Nadia and the son of Sirria, told the room: ‘In one night I have lost half of my family. I feel like a stranger now. It has destroyed everything. I feel like part of me has been taken away.’
The Choucair family
The inquiry heard how Sirria was particularly close to her granddaughter Zainab, who she looked after while Nadia worked as a school teacher.
Mr Choucair’s sister Nadia was a ‘fighter’ who knew her mind and would always stand up for her rights like their mother, he said.
Her husband Bassem was an ‘excellent father, kind, loving, considerate,’ who was an ‘incredibly conscientious’ supervisor at Marks and Spencer.
Eleven-year-old Fatima was described as a gifted gymnast, while Mierna, 13, loved sports and drawing, and could not choose whether to become a doctor or lawyer.
– Hesham Rahman
Hesham Rahman, 57, died in his flat on the top floor of Grenfell Tower.
During a tribute to him, a moving video montage was played, closing with Omar, his infant relative, saying: ‘We would do so many things together. Those things have sadly come to end.’
His nephew Karim Mussilhy read a poem he had written in February 2016: ‘My will, for who will remember me one day.
‘Remember my presence before my departure. To see a smile on your face when I’m gone, a prayer from your heart.
‘No tears or sadness near my grave.
‘If we shared a memory that’s in your heart, always remember it with a smile.
‘For who will remember me one day, remember my presence before my departure.’
– Anthony Disson
Anthony Disson, known as Tony, was hailed as a doting grandfather who encouraged his children’s passion for boxing.
The 65-year-old was remembered by his family at the inquiry, including son Alfie, who said he had named his baby girl after him.
He said in a video recorded message: ‘If he was here now he’d be over the moon at what we called her.’
– Zainab Deen and Jeremiah Deen (floor 14)
Mother Zainab Deen, 32, died in Grenfell Tower alongside her young son Jeremiah.
She had moved to the UK when she was just 16 and had once dreamed of becoming a pop star.
Her family said she was a ‘beautiful, smart, warm, caring and a confident and outgoing young woman’ with a ‘lively personality’ and ‘great sense of humour’.
One of the youngest victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Jeremiah Deen, two, was said to be ‘loving, full of life, liked playing football and loved exploring and adventuring’.
He was found at his mother’s side on the 14th floor of the block.
He had attended the Clare Garden nursery until his ‘sweet life was cut short’ in the June 14 blaze, his family said, adding: ‘We cannot dwell on the sadness or keep asking the question ‘why this happened to our family’. Neither will we find a reason why such a handsome and cheerful boy was taken from us at the age of two.
– Ali Yawar Jafari (floor 11)
The 82-year-old was fondly remembered by his family as an animal-lover who once waited for three days to free a pigeon whose legs were trapped in twine.
The grandfather, who was pulled from Grenfell Tower by firefighters after losing contact with his family, was described as a ‘kind man and husband’ who loved travelling.
His son Hamid Ali Jafari said in a video tribute: ‘I think the happiest moment he had was when my son was born, because he was attached to him a lot.
‘Both of them were connected to each other so sometimes when I see my son I feel like my dad’s soul came in my son.’
– Gary Maunders (floor 19)
Gary Maunders, 57, was remembered at the inquiry as an avid Manchester United fan who swapped the football for the paintbrush when a top-level career failed to materialise.
He was found in his top-floor flat in Grenfell Tower – and buried in the kit of the football team he cherished.
Ms Pumar, the mother of his two youngest children, said: ‘The loss of their father, his love and presence in their life has been devastating for our children. They miss their dad more than words can describe and have been left with a huge part of their lives missing.’
– Majorie Vital and Ernie Vital (floor 19)
Mother and son Majorie Vital, 68, and Ernie, 50, lived on the 19th floor of Grenfell Tower.
Their bodies were so badly burnt in the fire they had moulded together, her surviving son, whose name was not given, said in a film shown to the room.
He said: ‘It reminded me, as a child growing up he was constantly in my mother’s arms, and when they were fused together it symbolised to me their level of closeness that they had, that umbilical cord, that my brother still relatively had intact.’
– Victoria King and Alexandra Atala (floor 20)
Mother and daughter Victoria King, 71, and Alexandra Atala, 40, were commemorated in a brief statement sent by an aunt who lived in Australia.
Ms King and her sister Penny Pearce had only recently restored contact following years of separation.
She said: ‘Eventually, thanks to the Salvation Army family tracing I was able to get in touch with her and my niece, Alexandra, living in Grenfell Tower. If this had not been the case, no family member would have known they had perished as no-one knew they were still living there.
‘The time we had back being in touch meant a great deal, I wish it had been much longer. They were, and are, still together and that is what is important. The fire is a tragedy for all of us.’
– Tuccu-Ahmedin family (floor 19)
Mohamednur Tuccu, 44, his wife Amal Ahmedin, 35, and their three-year-old daughter Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin, all died. Amna Mahmud Idris, 27, was visiting her cousin Ms Ahmedin at the time of the fire and also died.
Ms Ahmedin’s sister Feruza Afewerki said: ‘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.’
Winta, whose last name was not given, said ‘cheeky’ Amaya was the love of her mother’s life and her sister Ms Ahmedin an incredible mother.
– Miah-Begum family (floor 17)
Kamru Miah, 79, Rabeya Begum, 64, Mohammed Hamid, 28, Mohammed Hanif, 26 and Husna Begum, 22, were found on the 17th floor.
Their sole surviving immediate family member, 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.’
Mr Hakim’s parents, who were born in Bangladesh, had mobility issues. His father had experienced two strokes and a heart attack.
He described him as dedicated father and husband with a heart of gold who loved action movies.
His mother was ‘beautiful, loving and generous’ and full of love and laughter.
Where the survivors were rehoused
Mohammed Hamid, he said, was ‘a trooper, a lionheart, brave and loyal’.
His other brother, Mohammed Hanif, was talented at drawing and design and loved animation and sci-fi movies.
His sister Husna Begum – the family’s ‘perfect little star’- valued her friends and family and would never forget an anniversary or birthday.
– Fathia Ali Ahmed Elsanosi, Abufars Ibrahim and Isra Ibrahim (floor 23)
The 73-year-old was found on the 23rd floor alongside her children Abufars Ibrahim, 39, and Isra Ibrahim, 33.
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.’
Said Essaouini, the husband of Isra Ibrahim, said he believed she could have escaped but did not want to leave her mother.
He said: ‘I will never find no-one like her, never ever, ever a woman like Isra again, and I am ripped up to pieces, only God knows how much I’m ripped up,’ he added.
The brother of Mr Ibrahim, who he called Fras, said he was a very brave man who loved cooking.
– Ligaya Moore
Ligaya Moore, 78, loved her Grenfell Tower flat on the 21st floor as it made her feel on ‘top of the world’.
She had lived in the UK for 43 years and enjoyed long walks with friends across London.
Her friend Nenita Bunggay said during an emotional tribute that Mrs Moore was her ‘mother, sister, everything’, adding: ‘She was so proud to live in Grenfell. She would always say every time we walked past: ‘Nenita, that’s my building, 21st floor. It’s a big building and I love it so much, even though I’m alone there, I love seeing it every day.’
– Vincent Chiejina (floor 17)
Vincent Chiejina, 60, was found dead on the 17th floor of the tower, on which he lived.
In a video, his younger sister Obi told of how the pair had spent their early years in Nigeria before their family moved to the UK.
As a teenager he loved science fiction and ‘watched religiously’ Star Trek, while he excelled at maths in school.
His sister said: ‘I think he was also quite good at looking after people who were quite vulnerable like himself, so would he never reject anybody just because they were less privileged than himself, and he was always good at spotting that, not exploiting it, but wanting to quietly support them with whatever troubles they had but also making them feel good.’
-The El-Wahabi family (floor 21)
Father Abdulaziz, 52, wife Faouzia, 41, and children Yasin, 20, Nur Huda, 16, and Mehdi, eight, all died.
Abdulaziz, a porter at University College London Hospital for 22 years who was known as ‘Aziz’, was described as a ‘popular colleague known for being kind to his patients’.
Born in Morocco, he moved to the UK as a child and became the heart of the family when his father died.
Mother Faouzia El-Wahabi, was remembered as a wonderful baker who had a talent for sewing.
Yasin was a university student who studied part-time so he could continue his contributions to the community, officiating as a football referee at local games.
Nur Huda was in the middle of her GCSEs when she died and was described as an inspiration to those around her.
‘We all wanted to be like her,’ Mariam El-Wahabi, her younger cousin, said.
The youngest, Mehdi, was described by his head teacher as a ‘true team player’ who loved sports and was particularly talented at karate. He was the ‘baby’ of the family who collected toys and displayed them on his bedroom desk.
‘It is difficult knowing that Mehdi will never be able to play with us ever again,’ his nine-year-old cousin Sara said.
– Khadija Khaloufi
The 52-year-old was remembered by her husband of 27 years, Sabah Abdullah, as a unique person who always tried to make people feel comfortable.
They lived together on the 17th floor, and she was always thinking of and helping her friends and neighbours.
He said their children could not believe what happened to her, adding: ‘I am not trying to make my wife an angel or something, but to them she was more than an angel.’
Her younger brother was not able to attend due to delays with his visa application.
– Jessica Urbano Ramirez (floor 20)
Twelve-year-old Jessica was just two weeks away from celebrating her 13th birthday with a sleepover with friends.
Her older sister Melanie said: ‘Jess was reaching that age where you just begin to plan your future.
Jessica Urbano Ramirez
‘Listening to some of these other pen portraits this week has been difficult for us as we all wish she could have done more and fulfilled her potential.’
– The Kedir family (floor 22)
Hashim Kedir, 44, died with his wife Nura Jemal, 35, daughter Firdows Hashim, 12, and sons Yahya Hashim, 13, and Yaqub Hashim, six.
The family were remembered during a long and poignant series of tributes, which included a video of Firdows singing in front of her school.
Mr Kedir’ father died barely two weeks on from the fire, the inquiry was told.
Relative Assema Kedir Habib said in a statement: ‘I still have a problem accepting the fact that the UK, one of the most powerful countries in the world, could not do anything more in the year 2017 to save them. To save what was left of them.’
– Steve Power (floor 15)
Steve Power ran into the burning Grenfell Tower to make sure his daughter, Sherrie was awake.
The 63-year-old father-of-five was an old-school dance DJ who, despite his white Irish heritage, was known to shout ‘Jah Rastafari’ during sets.
He died with his three devoted dogs wrapped around him, his daughter told the inquiry, adding: ‘He needs justice, all the victims do, because as much as he loved that block he didn’t deserved to die in it.’
– Eslah and Mariem Elgwahry (floor 22)
Mother and daughter Eslah and Mariem Elgwahry died together on the top floor of Grenfell Tower, while brother Ahmed listened to the horror over the phone.
Mariem was remembered for her family-orientated approach to life and her appetite for challenges, ranging from paragliding to endurance events. She had been scheduled to attend an interview for her ‘dream’ job on the morning that she died.
Little was said about Eslah by her son during a poignant commemoration at the inquiry, simply that she was an excellent Egyptian cook in poor health.
Ahmed Elgwahry said: ‘But what I will say is that my mother truly touched many hearts and was a strong woman who raised Mariem and I on our own since my father passed.’
– Berkti Haftom and Biruk Haftom (floor 18)
The 29-year-old Eritrean mother was 10 weeks pregnant when she died.
Berkti Haftom had fled her conflict-ridden home country when she was young, leaving behind a two-year-old son, Nahom Tesfay. She later gave birth to Biruk Haftom, who was 12 when he died in Grenfell Tower.
Her sisters said in a statement read to the inquiry: ’Our sister Berkti was a brilliant mum. She gave so much love to her sons. Biruk loved her, Nahom loved her and she loved them in return.
Biruk Haftom had celebrated his 12th birthday a few months before the fire.
His family said in a statement at the inquiry: ‘Biruk died with his mum. We have no doubt that our sister would have been holding and hugging him to the last, protecting and comforting her little boy, despite knowing that there was no hope for them inside that tower.
‘Biruk entered this world greeted by love, the love of his mother’s face, and we are sure he left this world looking at the love of that same beautiful face. These thoughts sustain us in our darkest hours.’
– Gloria Trevisan (floor 23)
Italian architect Gloria Trevisan, 26, was robbed of the chance to fulfil a promising career when she died with her boyfriend Marco Gottardi.
At the inquiry her employer Peregrine Bryant said ‘even in that short time she demonstrated what she could do and demonstrated what talent she had’.
A voiceover in a video tribute package said Gloria was a ‘beautiful girl’ whose kindness and big heart ‘didn’t go unnoticed for anyone who met her’.
Her mother told the inquiry: ‘Gloria was a girl full of life. She really loved life and, although she missed the sun, she missed the food and she missed Italy generally, she was very happy for the work and the job that she had found here, so she was happily settled here.’
– Sakineh Afrasiabi (floor 18)
Mother Sakineh Afrasiabi, 65, lived on the 18th floor, but was found alongside her younger sister on the 23rd floor.
She loved the amazing view across London from her flat in Grenfell Tower, her daughter said in a statement read to the inquiry.
She said: ‘I am glad that my mother at least did not die alone but it terrifies me every time I think about how scared my mother and her sister must have been.’
The disabled 65-year-old grandmother should never have been housed above the fourth floor due to her ailments, the inquiry heard.
She was remembered as a big-hearted and caring mother, whose quirks included talking to birds in parks, much to the incredulity of her family.
Her son Sharok said: ‘If you want to look at the face of God, if you want to see what love is, if you are lucky enough to have your mother, just look at your mother – there she is, that’ the meaning of love.’
– Hamid Kani (floor 18)
The 61-year-old Iranian satirist Hamid Kani died just a few weeks away from a return to the country from which, for a time, he was exiled.
Hamid Kani, who lived in Grenfell Tower for 22 years, was remembered as a good-humoured chef whose works ridiculing the Iranian regime saw him hit a travel ban.
Tributes were paid to the 18th floor resident by his friend Masoud Shahabeddin.
The ’outpouring of love’ that followed the tragedy would have made him ‘proud’, his friend said, adding: ‘I hope this will be the legacy of all the lost souls of Grenfell Tower.’
– Isaac Paulos (floor 18)
There was an emotional commemoration made to the five-year-old who died, his father said, after being told to stay in his burning flat.
Isaac Paulos, the eldest of two little boys, was a ‘beautiful little boy, with so much potential’, the inquiry heard.
The youngster loved school, taekwondo and swimming, he recalled, while teachers spoke of how the outdoor park was his favourite place.
His father Paulos Tekle said: ’I want to know why I was physically stopped from leaving the flat at about 2am. Why we were kept inside for so long? I want answers. If I had not listened to the fire brigade my son would have likely been alive today.’
– Mohammad al-Haj Ali (floor 14)
The 23-year-old Mohammad al-Haj Ali had been in the process of setting up a new life in the UK after fleeing the war in Syria.
He had chosen to remain in Grenfell Tower as it burnt because he did not want to abandon a child trapped there, his friend Mahmoud Al-Karad said.
‘He was in there with a mother and her child. I told him to get out, that he should leave. His reply shows the kind of man that he was – he said: ‘How can I leave? How can I leave the child?’. He also told me to tell his family that he loved them.’
– Raymond ‘Moses’ Bernard (floor 23)
The 63-year-old Raymond Bernard, affectionately known as Moses, was hailed a hero for sheltering six Grenfell Tower residents in his top floor flat.
The grandfather-of-three, who arrived in 1969 from Trinidad and had lived in Grenfell Tower for more than 30 years, offered his bed to terrified neighbours while he awaited his fate sitting on the floor.
His dog Marley also died in the fire.
‘My beloved Ray was my modern day Moses, my hero,’ his sister Bernadette Bernard said. ‘Ray always had a smile on his face. He knew how to love without expecting anything in return.’
– Fatemeh Afrasiabi (visiting her sister on 18th floor)
Mrs Afrasiabi was born in Abadan, Iran, and was talented at sewing and painting, despite never having had a formal lesson in the latter.
In a video made by Mr Samimi, her daughters recalled how their would make clothes for their dolls.
The 59-year-old would often sing during chores, her daughter Sara said, describing her voice as ‘beautiful’ and ‘truly soothing’.
‘She loved her children, she would do everything for us,’ another daughter said.
– The Belkadi family (floor 20)
The father of Farah Hamdan wept as he paid tribute to the 31-year-old, her husband Omar Belkadi, 32, and children Malak Belkadi, eight, and six-month-old Leena Belkadi, found in her arms.
Farah Hamdan and Omar Belkadi
Hamdan El Alami, speaking through an interpreter, said: ‘Death has separated us, and they left me torn into pieces.
Mr Belkadi, who delivered takeaways, was like a son to him, he said, adding that he was extremely honest and would never say no to him.
The couple’s children were ‘really polite’, he recalled, and he said of his daughter: ‘There is nobody in the neighbourhood who does not know Farah, all people know her.’
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