The fire that engulfed a 27-story apartment building in White City, London, Wednesday morning was “like hell on earth” according to those that escaped with their lives. Unfortunately, not all residents escaped as a reported twelve individuals died. Some parents made the hard decision to drop their children from their windows in hopes that someone below would catch them.
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The fire allegedly began after a fridge exploded in one of the rooms quickly engulfing the entire building in flames. The men and women who were below tried to calm the hundreds of people at their windows screaming for help telling them that they had called 999 and emergency services were on their way. Firefighters arrived within six munites of the emergency call.
One woman, Samira Lamrani, said you could see in many of their faces that they knew they were going to die. She said one mother tried to save her baby by dropping it from a window on the “ninth or tenth floor.”
Luckily, a man who was below realized what she was doing and was able to catch the infant child. “The windows were slightly ajar, a woman was gesturing that she was about to throw her baby and if somebody could catch her baby,” Lamrani explained. “Somebody did, a gentleman ran forward and managed to grab the baby.”
The screams of the residents are something that’s going to stick with Lamrani – especially the screams of the children.
“Mainly the kids, because obviously their voices, with their high pitched voices – that will remain with me for a long time,” Lamrani told BBC. “I could hear them screaming for their lives.”
Another resident of Grenfell Tower, Zara, said that she witnessed a woman throw her son, who looked to be five years old, out of the window from the fifth or six floor and nobody caught him to her knowledge.
“One woman actually threw her son out of the window. I think he’s OK,” she told Daily Mail. “I think he might have just had some broken bones and bruises.”
To the surprise of the residents, none of the fire alarms worked nor did the sprinkler system. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was also concerned why residents had been told by management to stay in their flats in the event of a fire.
Grenfell’s community called for the building to be torn down four years ago calling it an “appalling” fire hazard, but the community said it fell on “deaf ears.”