Firefighters’ statements ‘a slap in the face’, says Grenfell survivor

- Advertisement -

A Grenfell Tower survivor has told an inquiry it is a “slap in the face” for firefighters to suggest they would change nothing about their actions that night.

Rosemary Oyewole, a secondary school teacher who lived in flat 113 on the 14th floor, took shelter in her home with seven other residents, including her family.

Four of her neighbours died in the flat on June 14 2017 after a rescue team accidentally left them behind.

Giving evidence at Holborn Bars on Monday, Ms Oyewole criticised the fire service for not accepting mistakes were made and suggested they bore responsibility for the deaths.

INQUIRY Grenfell
(PA Graphics)

Ms Oyewole escaped down the smoke-filled stairwell with her partner Oluwaseun, known as Seun, and their four-year-old daughter when a rescue team reached their flat.

Various firefighters had told them to stay put on four different occasions before this, she claimed.

Peter Herrera, the firefighter who led the eventual escape, has said he was told no-one was left in the flat – an account disputed by at least two survivors.

Ms Oyewole said: “I personally would like to thank the fireman that came to the door – whoever it was that said ‘get out, go’ – I would like to thank him, I am grateful for him coming back and doing that.

“However, my recollection of a lot of the other statements, that’s not how I remember it happening.

“I would also like to say that for anyone to say they do not regret what happened or would not change anything about what happened on that night – I know for a fact I wasn’t to blame, but I would definitely change certain things about that night if I could.

“I think it’s quite a slap in the face for anyone to say they wouldn’t change anything about what happened that night or they have no regrets about what happened that night.

“We lost beautiful, beautiful, beautiful people that night – innocent children, everyone that passed away that night was innocent and nobody deserved that – and if events had played out different then I might not be sitting here myself.”

Also awaiting rescue in her flat had been neighbours Zainab Deen and her young son Jeremiah, Syrian brothers Mohammad and Omar Alhajali, and Denis Murphy.

Mohammad Alhajali, Mr Murphy and Ms Deen and her son all died.

Ms Oyewole said in a written statement that she had been plagued by guilt about their fate and troubled by the fact they were left behind.

She wrote: “Why did they leave people to die in my flat? If I knew that they were going to stay there, we would have stopped and helped them to leave, to make them come with us when we left the flat.

“I could have tried to get them help. We could have tried to carry Jeremiah out.

“It is a thought that has been in my mind at all times, for nearly a year since the fire, and will remain with me forever.”

The inquiry was previously told that an initial rescue team had moved everyone into one flat, but then had to leave as they ran low on oxygen.

Mr Herrera claimed he was under the impression that only three people needed saving when he subsequently went to flat 113.

On Monday, Ms Oyewole said: “The firemen that came back that night – on many occasions people came back – had many chances to see how many people were brought into our flat.

“People had the chance to see the state of the people that were brought into our flats and for there not to be any precautions taken into place and the right equipment to come and get people out of our flat, I think if they did have the correct equipment I personally think that the people that passed away in our flat possibly wouldn’t have passed away.”

Earlier, the hearing was told how the family of three were prepared to risk their lives climbing down knotted bedsheets, as hopes of a rescue faded.

Mr Herrera arrived minutes before the group began a last-ditch escape bid out of the bedroom window.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.