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Witnesses advised to stay inside burning London tower

TimeOdd Stories - Burning London Tower

FEARS FOR MISSING FAMILY

Authorities and family members are desperately searching hospitals and the surrounding areas for missing relatives as the death toll is expected to rise.

One family has had no news of their three young girls who were believed to be trapped in the building. Relatives said three sisters, Mirna, Fatima and Zainnb, along with two other family members had been in the building and had not been heard from.

Ahmed Chellah told news.com.au his brother-in-law and his wife were inside with their three children when the fire broke out.

“The last time I spoke with them was at 1.45. She seemed calm,” he said of his relative.

“Her husband was talking with emergency services. She told me they asked her to put towels around the doors. She sounded calm.”

However, he spoke to her again at 2.15am and she said “smoke was coming into the flat”.

“That was the last time I heard from her,” he said. “Whether the emergency services got to them and have taken them to hospital, I don’t know.”

MAN ARRESTED OVER TOWER ‘BODY PICTURES’

A man has been arrested over allegations he posted pictures of a Grenfell Tower victim on social media.

Images were posted of what appear to be a partially covered body following the fatal blaze in north Kensington, west London.

The Metropolitan Police said a 43-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of sending malicious communications and obstructing a coroner.

Officers confirmed the arrest related to the fire at Grenfell Tower and the man was in custody.

MUSLIM RESIDENTS MAY HAVE SAVED LIVES

Muslim residents of Grenfell tower who had stayed up because of Ramadan are being hailed as heroes and credited with saving lives.

A number of witnesses have praised those who were awake ahead of the pre-dawn meal Suhur, which is taken nightly during the month of Ramadan, and alerted others to spreading blaze.

Khalid Suleman Ahmed, who had recently moved to the building, told Huffpost he was only awake in the middle of the night because of Suhur, and began alerting neighbours when he could smell smoke.

“No fire alarms went off and there were no warning. I was playing PlayStation waiting to eat Suhur then smelt smoke. I got up and looked out of my window and saw the seventh floor smoking,” he said. “I woke my aunty up, then got clothes on and started knocking on neighbours’ doors.”

Mr Ahmed said he wouldn’t usually be up so late on a weeknight, unless it was Ramadan.

“There are a lot of Muslims living there and people choose to sty up and wait so it was certainly a factor for me and others. It probably did save lives.”

A witness told Sky News Muslims who were awake had been a “lifeline”. Another witness said: “Thank God for Ramadan.”

Witnesses have shared more incredible rescue stories, including a man who was seen desperately waving a jumper from his window signalling to authorities he was still in the tower 12 hours after it went up in flames.

Witnesses shared their shock after seeing a man scramble to catch a baby that had been dropped from a window on the ninth or 10th floor.

‘I CONSIDER THIS MASS MURDER’

Another witness Mohammad Jamal, 27, told news.com.au he was yelling at people to leave the building, which people on the street could see was becoming engulfed in flames.

He said many of those inside shouted back “We’ve been told to stay”, following official management advice that says people should “stay put” unless the fire is affecting their own property.

“They couldn’t see it spreading,” he said.

Former resident David Collins said he had lived in the block for two and a half years and had never experienced an evacuation drill during that time. He also said emergency lighting in stairwells was not working properly.

Another resident Edward Daffarn, who lived on the 16th floor said residents had complained for years to responsible councils about the building’s safety.

“I’m lucky to be alive. A neighbour’s smoke alarm went off and another neighbour phoned and told me to get out,” he said. “I consider this mass murder.

“This is an accident that never needed to happen.”

Other witnesses reported not hearing smoke alarms in the building until they were manually started by fire services. Lack of access to the building due to narrow roads and gas works in the area were also cited by locals as complicating firefighting efforts.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said firefighters were only able to reach the 12th floor and pledged to get to the bottom of whether the response was adequate and residents were at risk.

“The reason why it should be such a big concern for all of us is that there are many tower blocks across London and across the country,” he said.

“Many of them are the responsibility of local authorities. We need to make sure that legitimate questions people have are answered.”

AP

RESIDENTS WARNED IT WAS ‘A MATTER OF TIME’

It comes as the Grenfell Action Group warned that a “catastrophe like this was inevitable” and blasted the building management for failing to provide adequate fire training and advice.

Shortly after news of Wednesday’s tragedy broke, it claimed: “Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower.

“ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.”

It comes after a statement in March detailing the “criminally lax” manner fire safety was treated.

“We are on record as stating that it is our belief that a serious and catastrophic incident will be the undoing of this mini mafia who pose as a bona fide organisation responsible for the smooth running of the RBKC’s (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) social housing.”

Refurbishments that took place only a year ago meant that residents of the 24-storey building had gone from having access to three fire escapes to just one.

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Written by TimeOdd

TimeOdd is a leading technology media property, dedicated to obsessively profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news.

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