16th June 2017
The scenes at the Grenfell Estate were both horrific and numbing.It was about 4:30 pm on Wednesday 14 June, almost 14 hours since the start of the fire, and one could still see the smoke and smell the burning as the 24-storey block of flats continued to consume any outward visible structure of the building. The atmosphere was still of amazement and shock and despair as people that were either residents of the flats or those who had to be evacuated nearby sat along the concrete pavement in dismay, some being comforted by others present in the area, while others staring in stark bewilderment.
In times like this you see the good in humanity as numerous charity and community organisations came together providing supplies of food, water and clothing. The upbeat army of charity organisations compensated for the sad tone that prevailed where hope and cheer were expressed with everyone recognising there is no cultural or religious barriers to helping in a tragic disaster such as this.
However, the stories coming out from those displaced were harrowing. One lady, five months pregnant, stood staring at the smoking building wondering if her mother had made it out. She said, “I just came back from holiday this morning and I came straight here, the last time I spoke to my mother was 11:30 pm last night. Since then I can’t get through on her phone.” Another middle-aged man shook his head in disbelief, “I can’t believe it”, he said “my family lived up on the 21st floor, I have checked all the hospitals nearby and no one knows where they are.”
It’s stories like these and many others that make the reality of what happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning so real and tragic.