Following the horrific inferno at the Grenfell tower in West London in the early hours of Wednesday morning, firefighters have been working tirelessly at the scene to save the lives of people trapped in the fire.
The fire brigade, who arrived at the tower block within six minutes of the fire breaking out, have dealt with scenes that one called “like nothing I’ve seen before”, and that have been reminiscent of the 9/11 tragedy. Thousands of men and women have run towards the danger while most have been running away – into falling debris, flames, and thick suffocating smoke.
And one heroic firefighter has captured the spirit of all the men and women endeavouring to help, going back into the blaze despite suffering severe burns. A survivor, Natasha Elcock, told how one man who had been working at the scene had to go to hospital to be treated for his injuries – but determindley returned to the scene as soon as he had been checked over
She said, “One of the firemen got badly burned. He had a very nasty burn to his neck but he had it treated and went
back out to the scene to help after the hospital. He is a total hero.”
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One firefighter named Terry, also revealed how he and his fellow colleagues were forced to be accompanied by police to enter the building, using police riot shields to block themselves from debris falling down. Legally, safety rules limit the time firefighters are allowed to spend near to fire and smoke, so crews have been taking it in turns to fight the fire.
One survivor, Maxine Davies, said, “The men and women fighting this have been fantastic and deserve all the praise they get.
“They have risked their lives for others. They must be exhausted. They’ve been fighting it all day. It has been burning for well over 12 hours and you can still see them going up in a cherry picker battling the flames.”
Muslim residents who were awake at that time of night due to Ramadan have also been hailed as heroes of the tragedy, as they ran to wake people up to alert them to the fire after alarms didn’t go off. Rashida, a local resident, told Sky News: “Most Muslims now observing Ramadan will normally not go to bed until about 2am maybe 2.30am. Until they have their late night last meal. They do their last prayer.
“It’s a very diverse area, we have all nationalities, all religions. We all live peacefully amongst each other, there is not much crime higher than anywhere else.”
Locals and celebrities have also rallied round the survivors of the fire to help out in any way they can. Streets surround the blaze are now full of donations of clothing food and water from Londoners, with one street even laying on a table full of food for the survivors to eat a proper meal.
Other residents have also been tweeting in support to offer up beds, chargers and food and drink.
Famous faces such as Jamie Oliver and Lily Allen have also pledged to lend a hand where the can too, with the chef offering meals and drinks free of charge to survivors at his White City restaurant nearby to the Grenfell Tower.
Singer Lily Allen also offered a bed, tea or a lift to anyone who needed it in a tweet.
Adele also went along to support survivors at the vigil on Wednesday night, while Tamara Ecclestone also donated boxes of supplies.