Grenfell inquiry hears powerful tributes from victims' relatives
A father whose whole family died in the Grenfell Tower fire said his life has âfully stoppedâ, as another relative described hearing his loved ones take their last breaths.
Hassan Awadh Hassan had been in Egypt when his wife Rania Ibrahim, 31, and daughters Fethia, four, and Hania, three, became trapped in the west London inferno.
He told the public inquiry into the disaster that his âonly mistakeâ was moving the family into the flat, having been assured there was no danger in the event of a blaze.
On the sixth day of commemoration hearings tributes were paid to 13 victims, and some of their parting words shared.
Each presentation was given a standing ovation.
An Italian architect told her parents âbe strong, I hug you both, I love youâ as flames swept through her home, while a mother-of-two said to her son over the phone, âI canât breathe, I canât breatheâ.
Hassan struggled for composure as he spoke about his family, supported by two loved ones at his side, before a video tribute was played.
He said: âWhat happened in Grenfell Tower is not normal. For me, life has fully stopped. I know if I keep talking Iâm not going to get Rania, Fethia and Hania back.â
Remembering the day of the fire, he described rushing to the airport in Egypt after seeing chaos unfolding on television.
âWhen Iâm inside the airport, I go to duty free to buy chocolate for my two daughters. I think, âHow can I go back empty-handed?â.
âI arrive here on the same day, I never had in my mind that my wife and my daughter is going to be lost.
âWhy do I say that? Because weâre in London, in London, in London.â
He had sought to reassure his trapped wife over the phone before leaving, as did others on that fateful night.
Earlier, Ahmed Elgwahry told the hearing he was on the line to his younger sister, Mariem Elgwahry, 27, when she and their mother Eslah Elgwahry, 64, took refuge on the top floor.
After hearing his sister lose consciousness, he heard his motherâs final words before they gave way t o the crackle of flames.
He said: âShe was struggling for breath, and said her last words: âI canât breathe, I canât breatheâ. That was the last time I heard her voice. She was so frightened that she had not spoken prior to this.â
Similarly, the parents of Italian architect Gloria Trevisan shared the message their daughter had left them, during a touching video package played to the inquiry.
The 26-year-old died with her fiance Marco Gottardi who, it was heard, âheld her in his arms until the last breath, to protect herâ.
All three grieving families directly appealed to the inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick to uncover the truth.
The inquiry also heard from the father of Isaac Paulos, five, who spoke of his terrible guilt at his sonâs fate.
But he also expressed anger at the advice of the fire service to stay inside their 18th floor flat as the blaze intensified.
He said: âWhy we were kept inside for so long? I want answers. If I had not listened to the fire brigade my son would have likely been alive today.â
Tributes were also paid to Berkti Haftom, 29, who lived on the 18th floor with her 12-year-old son Biruk, who also died.
She was 10 weeks pregnant with her third child at the time of the fire.
Meanwhile, the daughter of 65-year-old Sakineh Afrasiabi, who lived on the 18th floor, said she felt âinvisibleâ after losing âmy anchor, my protector, my only true friendâ.
Syrian refugee Mohammad al-Haj Ali, 23, became separated from his brother as they tried to escape the tower because he was trying to help others, his family said.
Revealing the last text she received, his girlfriend Amal said: âJust past 12 he messaged me saying âhey, are you sleeping? Iâm home nowâ. That was the last time I heard from him.â
Hamid Kani, a 61-year-old who lived in the tower for 22 years, was described as a good-humoured chef whose works of satire saw him banned from returning to Iran.
Finally, Fathia Ahmed, 71, was remembered by her son as a âvery loving person, very caringâ with âexcellent communication skills and a great sense of humourâ.
The commemorations are being heard at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in South Kensington, ahead of evidence sessions next week.
The last day of tributes will resume on Wednesday.Source: Google News