New testimony and images from an eyewitness to the events at Grenfell Tower have been passed to the SKWAWKBOX, with his consent, by admins at the excellent Walking the Breadline Facebook group.
The gentleman, who will not be named in this article, lives directly opposite the block and was woken in the early hours of Wednesday morning as the blaze spread. Warning, his testimony and the images he took may be triggering for some readers:
I still can’t get my head around the losses, the warnings. The chaos of a mini 9/11 is what greeted me as I opened the door at 3am.
Helicopters and sirens had kept circling, not fading after a while as is normal in West London.. Firefighters were already visible, I knew the road was blocked one side into Grenfell, and had realised that held some of them up.
The firefighters were on the eastern side, aiming low, clearly protecting the lower floors & people in their line of spraying. My side (southfacing side of Grenfell) had only one jet of water from firefighters and nothing above the 10th floor got a drop.
The space behind the cladding was the chimney to the windows, and the cladding was a perfect firelighter material. The alloy composite windows then became incendiary devices for every room in the building.
The plastic coating wicked the flame on a burning strip up the whole building. The sirens died away for a while, though the noise of the copters intensified. Everyone official was here now.
When the circling choppers were north of Grenfell it was oddly quiet at times and I could hear stressed voices in the distance, from where I don’t know for sure. Lights were still on all the way up the west side (the left side in the pictures) until that tide of flame curled across it.
I am very lucky and got to see a counsellor today. My building doesn’t have such foam insulation stuck on it either. I expect a Public Enquiry & nothing less, but I know what happened.
I can’t express my feelings in legal form, for the sake of the state. The community is the only thing that’s real. The only thing they can’t sell from under you, list on the stock market.
I expect this tragedy to simply speed along the economic cleansing of London though. So they can’t sell us yet, but they can disperse us, send us to try and start again in Stoke, or Wolverhampton, somewhere we don’t know anyway. I’m in despair here with my health and an all out onslaught by DWP – and now this.
As I said, I saw a counsellor today – free amd arranged by chance before the fire, but very helpful. The anger down there among the people and the lack of counselling isn’t going to be easily managed.
Thousands watched helplessly, the trauma hasn’t begun to be understood yet, except the inner deepest affected residents of the Tower.
Yes, there’s counselling. Firefighters & those inside need it most, of course.. and grieving relatives will hopefully not be let down, but its beyond that. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
It’s striking that this resident of the area had a close-up view of the terrible blaze, yet the reaction of the people that has made the deepest impression – and the fear of the aftermath.
Together with the importance of the community – ‘the only thing that’s real‘. The government has said it will rehome every resident in the same area, but it’s absolutely essential that this promise is kept and that it’s easy for those affected by these events are able to console, advise and support each other. It’s also vital that – as the witness has observed from his own experience – that comprehensive, free counselling is immediately available to those who need it.
They must not be let down, once the spotlight on Grenfell fades, by a government with a track record of u-turns.
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