Daughter tells of agony at surviving Grenfell Tower blaze which claimed her

first_imgPosters and appeals for the missing have been put up in streets around Grenfell Tower, following the devastating blazeCredit:Nick Edwards Posters and appeals for the missing have been put up in streets around Grenfell Tower, following the devastating blaze Marjorie Vital and her son Ernie, feared dead in the Grenfell Tower fire Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Maria Jafari cannot forgive herself for leaving her father Ali behind to investigate the commotion she heard as the fire at Grenfell Tower began.By the time she realised the severity of the situation firefighters refused to let her go back into the burning building for her own safety.Now her father is among those feared killed after the blaze consumed the 23-storey tower in west London.By a miracle her sister Nadia survived the blaze after she managed to stumble out of the building.Last night Maria said: “I wish I could have saved my father. But I didn’t know. If I’d known the fire was this big I would have taken him with me. But I thought he’d be safe. I just closed the window and let him sleep.”Hers is one one of dozens of heartrending stories to emerge from this national tragedy. For the Jafari family it began when Maria noticed something was happening below their 11th floor flat in the early hours of Wednesday morning.She told The Telegraph: “I saw the shadow of the fire on the street, and police and people running. I said to my mother ‘let’s go downstairs to see what’s going on’. My father – he was sleeping; I didn’t want to disturb him.” “Ernie was staying with his mother, they were on the 16th floor,” said Ms Delson, 45, who lives near to the tower. “We’ve been to all the hospitals to look for them. Marjorie has been living in the flat almost since it was built. She moved over here from Dominica when she was a girl. She is well known in the community.”Ms Delson said that her own children were classmates at Kensington Academy with several children from Grenfell Tower. “My children have lost a lot of their friends,” she said.In the meantime more than 50,000 people have signed a petition to bring the parents of a Syrian refugee killed in the fire to the UK for his funeral.Mohammed Alhajali, a 23-year old Syrian refugee, was the first confirmed victim of the blaze, while his older brother Omar – who was with him in the flat – survived after they were separated on the way out.center_img What happened next is unclear, but it is believed Nadia was rescued by a firefighter, while her father lost consciousness in the lift or a few paces from it.“They couldn’t breath,” said Maria. “If normal people couldn’t breath, how could my father – he’s a heart patient?”Fighting against the choking smoke Nadia managed to stumble out of the building, but her father, has not been seen since.Around five or ten harrowing minutes later Maria was reunited with Nadia, as she stumbled clear of the tower, coughing and with a blackened face.She managed to splutter just seven words: “I lost my father in the lift.”Nadia was treated in hospital but has since been discharged.Maria yesterday condemned what she said was the shoddy way Grenfell Tower had been repaired and refurbished.“We are really angry. There was no fire alarm. No water. They don’t think about our safety,” she said, criticising the building’s management, KCTMO, for “buying cheap material” with which to clad the building. “Money is not important. Life is important. No one can bring the life back.”The were growing fears last night that the flames that claimed Maria’s father may have also killed as many as 15 children who attended a nursery on the ground floor of Grenfell Tower. Marjorie Vital and her son Ernie, feared dead in the Grenfell Tower fireCredit:Family poster Grenfell Creche Under Threes Centre confirmed several young children who attend the creche and live in the block were unaccounted for, but would not say how many.Nursery manager Shirley Sylvester said: “We’re completely devastated.”Ish Murray, 35, whose sister works at the nursery, said: “These are babies and three year-olds. It’s tragic.”Mimi Delson last night told how she feared her 67-year-old aunt Marjorie Vital and her cousin Ernie, 43, had also been killed in the fire. Ms Jafari shut the windows in the flat and, with her mother, descended to the ground floor in the lift which just seconds later would become a death trap.“When I went downstairs I looked up and saw the fire on the tenth floor,” she said. “I thought it’s going to go to my floor. I called my sister – I wanted to say “come out, there’s a fire”, but the phone didn’t work.“I was shouting “I’m going back to take my father out”, but they [firefighters] said ‘you can’t go back upstairs’.”Ms Jafari told the emergency crews her 82-year-old father was a heart patient and gave them the keys to her flat.In the meantime, upstairs, Mr Jafari and 27-year-old Nadia were struggling the escape the growing inferno.Shortly after Maria had left the flat, Nadia realised she had to get her father out so took him into the corridor.The elderly man was so terrified of the naked gas pipes in the stairwells he tried to escape with his daughter by using the lift, but after descending just one floor it filled with choking smoke.“They both said let’s go in the lift, it will go quickly. Because on the stairs they put the pipes for us; they were planning for our death,” said a traumatised Maria. His family said: “Mohammad was a very amazing and kind person. He gave love to everyone. He came to the UK because he had ambitions and aims for his life and for his family. Our whole family will miss Mohammad dearly and he will never be forgotten. To God we belong and to him we return.”Mirna Suleiman, 26, a family friend, launched the petition because of the difficulties faced by Syrians in travelling to Britain.”I’ve tried to apply for a visa for my nan in Syria – appealed and appealed and got no response,” she said.The percentage of rejected visa applications for visits from Syria has soared after the country’s devastating civil war began in 2011. The Home Office has indicated that it will allow Mr Alhajali’s family to come to the UK on compassionate grounds.last_img read more