Add news
March 2010April 2010May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021April 2021May 2021June 2021July 2021August 2021September 2021October 2021November 2021December 2021January 2022February 2022March 2022April 2022May 2022June 2022July 2022August 2022September 2022October 2022November 2022December 2022January 2023
News Every Day |

I’m a Grenfell survivor – 5 years on I still have panic attacks when I hear sirens

Views Around Grenfell Tower
Even now, I remember the night of the fire like it was yesterday (Picture: Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

The last five and a half years have been full of anger and tears for me. 

I’m a disabled survivor of the Grenfell fire and I still feel extremely let down by the government – even now, with The Grenfell Tower inquiry having closed last week. 

The public inquiry was set up by Theresa May the day after the fire to discover why it happened, and we’re no further forward than we were five years ago – with no legacy for its 72 victims in the form of criminal convictions.

No one is taking responsibility for dozens of deaths that were entirely avoidable.

As a result of the inquiry, I was disappointed to hear that we have to wait until late 2023 for the full report to be published. Only then, once the Metropolitan Police have had time to consider the evidence, will it be handed over to the Crown Prosecution Service, to consider if charges will be brought. 

To discover who is truly to blame for the atrocities of the fire

We might not see criminal proceedings in court until at least 2025 – more than seven years since the disaster. Survivors like me have already waited too long for justice. 

Even now, I remember the night of the fire like it was yesterday

Emma O'Connor
I’ve since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder but I’ve been told that my therapy sessions will be ending this month (Picture: Supplied)

I was at home on the 20th floor of the tower with my partner Luke. We heard sirens just after 1am and Luke saw the fire on the fourth floor reflected back in the windows of the school next door. 

The flames were getting bigger and bigger. When another fire engine arrived, we knew we had to get out. Out on the landing, smoke was already coming up through the vents. 

I have arthritis and I knew there was no way that I’d be able to make it down 20 flights of stairs, so we ignored safety advice and went straight for the one lift that was still working. 

Of course I was worried that we’d be trapped, but there was no other escape route in place for me. I didn’t have time to worry, we were just so focused on getting out. 

I didn’t realise how serious it was until I got outside and saw the fire climbing the building. 

I went into shock, and started crying. I’ve since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder but I’ve been told that my therapy sessions provided by a private therapist organised through my solicitors will be ending this month.

I don’t know how I’ll cope without them. My therapist says I should be OK by now but I’m not.

Views Around Grenfell Tower
I feel so lucky that at least one of the lifts was working that night (Picture: Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

I still can’t bear the thought of getting into lifts and I have panic attacks whenever I hear fire engines. 

I feel like we’re about to see a lot more of the fallout from the mental health trauma suffered by Grenfell survivors and the bereaved. 

You might assume that enough time has passed – especially with the inquiry closing – but there is no time cap on the recovery period for people who suffered as a result of the Grenfell fire. 

We saw things that night that we’ll never forget. Our neighbours were screaming for help and throwing themselves out of the tower, just to try and escape. 

I saw dead bodies being stored in the walkways of the estate and the residents who remained living there had to live with that. 

Above all, I was furious to find out at the public inquiry that Kensington and Chelsea Council had failed to make an evacuation plan for me and other vulnerable residents in the event of a fire. 

Emma O'Connor with her dog
I still can’t bear the thought of getting into lifts and I have panic attacks whenever I hear fire engines (Picture: Supplied)

Since then, the government hasn’t even made it mandatory for landlords to provide personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPs) for disabled residents like me in tower blocks. It’s like they haven’t learned a thing from this awful tragedy

We’d been living in the tower for five years and nearly every week at least one of the lifts would be broken. I feel extremely lucky that one was working that night, as I probably wouldn’t be here.

It’s shocking as the Grenfell fire was the deadliest structural fire on British shores since the 1988 Piper Alpha oil-platform disaster – and the worst residential fire since the Second World War.

Since then, the London Fire Brigade have been thrown under the bus and blamed for the deaths at the Grenfell fire – but, in my mind, this lets the real culprits off the hook. For example, those who manufactured the highly flammable cladding that was placed on Grenfell and those who made the decisions to use this cladding during the regeneration of the tower. 

The inquiry counsel accused organisations involved in the building’s refurbishment of spinning a ‘web of blame’, admitting it had been a ‘merry-go-round of buck-passing’ and companies passing on responsibility.

But I feel like we also need to point the finger at politicians. I get so angry when I think of the £29million in cuts that Boris Johnson made to the fire service in 2013, when he was Mayor of London. 

Memorial Events Take Place To Remember The 72 People Killed In The Grenfell Tower Fire - Fifth Anniversary
The inquiry counsel accused organisations involved in the building’s refurbishment of spinning a ‘web of blame’ (Picture: Guy Smallman/Getty Images)

These cuts resulted in the closure of 10 fire stations and 14 fire engines, and since then fire response times in London have increased. I believe we would have stood more of a fighting chance to get more people evacuated from Grenfell if there had been more firefighters.

The London Fire Bridge has implemented the vast majority of the recommendations made to them by the Grenfell inquiry, including introducing smoke hoods to rescue people from smoke-filled environments and longer ladders for high-rises. 

The Government has said that they are ‘truly sorry’ for their failures – but it’s not good enough. Their lack of significant action speaks volumes within itself. 

When I think of Grenfell Tower now, I feel sad. I’m a dog lover and I miss all of the dogs that passed away in the fire. I miss our old neighbour Steve Power, who died in the fire with his three staffies. I even miss the view from our old flat. 

I’ve been rehoused with my partner Luke in West Kensington but we are in the process of applying for a move back to North Kensington.

Initially we just wanted to move away from the community because we found it hard to look at Grenfell Tower, all burnt out after the fire, but now we want to come back as local family and friends are a big part of our support network and recovery from the incident.

At least the highly flammable cladding that was used to refurbish the Grenfell has finally been made illegal – that’s a step forward. In my mind it’s the best thing that’s happened since the fire.

Still, there are thousands of buildings in-between 11 and 18 metres high across the UK which have flammable cladding which needs to be removed as a matter of urgency. But I would like flammable cladding on buildings under 11 metres high – to also be removed. 

But there is so much more that needs to be done, so much that multiple companies need to be held accountable for. Our fight doesn’t end now – it’s just beginning.

I don’t want anyone to have to go through what we went through.

As told to Danielle Aumond

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing jess.austin@metro.co.uk

Share your views in the comments below.

MORE : Would we still be waiting on justice for Grenfell if its residents were rich and white?

MORE : ‘Rogues’ gallery’ of Grenfell firms responsible for fire, say lawyers

MORE : Grenfell five years on: ‘I hear my friends screaming for help every day’

Москва

Площадка «Печатники» технополиса «Москва» станет базовой для электромобилестроения

How to Fall Asleep in 60 Seconds (OR LESS)

Dumb Things In Marvel's Phase 4 That Didn't Make Any Sense

Masturbation is KILLING Your Strength! (NEW RESEARCH)

10+ Outdoor Survival Skills & Bushcraft Tips

Ria.city






Read also

Arsenal target Ivan Fresneda left out of Valladolid squad to face Valencia as Gunners near £13m transfer for wonderkid

Say hello to early nesting birds

Man slashed multiple times in the face in the Bronx, police say

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on Today24.pro

News Every Day

How to Fall Asleep in 60 Seconds (OR LESS)

Today24.pro — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here


News Every Day

What has happened this MLB offseason? A look at all the moves made in the AL and NL Central.



Sports today


Новости тенниса
Елена Рыбакина

Рыбакина вытеснила Кудерметову из первой десятки теннисного рейтинга



Спорт в России и мире
Москва

Московское "Динамо" выиграло у "Барыса" в Астане



All sports news today





Sports in Russia today

Москва

«Динамо» Москва — «Енисей» Красноярск


Новости России

Game News

Wizards of the Coast fully retreats from D&D license changes after community outrage


Russian.city


Сергей Брановицкий

Заказ Стихов, Текстов Песен всех направлений и жанров.


Губернаторы России
Динамо

Дубль Тюкавина принёс «Динамо» победу в товарищеском матче с боснийской командой


Руководитель Гидрометцентра Вильфанд: самые холодные дни зимы в Москве будут теплыми

Без проекта и экспертиз в Красноярск привезли буровые установки для метро

Гороскоп и главный совет на весну 2023 года для каждого знака зодиака

Алиев поддержал в ПАСЕ создание трибунала для Путина и Лукашенко


Певец Новиков отреагировал на слухи о собственной смерти

Участница «Голос.Дети» разозлилась на Басту, из-за которого её исключили из шоу

Певица Марина Хлебникова сильно похудела после пожара

Агутин отреагировал на новость о запрете съемок концертов с Варум


Русские девушки произвели фурор в Австралии на юниорском турнире «Большого шлема»

"Нет старого дома - есть место, где ты был очень счастлив" - Зинченко о матче против "Манчестер Сити"

Тарпищев назвал финалистку Australian Open Рыбакину гордостью России

Президент Белоруссии Лукашенко поздравил Соболенко с победой в финале Australian Open



Эрдоган заявил, что его отношения с Путиным основаны на честности

Завершился очередной проект Степанакертского пресс-клуба. Фоторяд

Шапки от Y're – подарки для двоих к 14 февраля

Мартынов: Россия поставит Эстонию на место без применения военной силы 


Лавров призвал Израиль и Палестину не усугублять конфликт

Властимил Петржела: Даже Мбаппе не помог бы "Спартаку" стать чемпионом

Эрдоган заявил, что его отношения с Путиным основаны на честности

Бывший вице-президент США Пенс признал ошибки после нахождения у него секретных документов


В России наблюдаются перебои с поставками зарубежных медицинских препаратов

Синоптик Вильфанд предупредил о метелях и необычном понижении давления в Москве

На Кубани ищут полицейского, сбившего мужчину на пешеходном переходе

Вильфанд предрек мрачную погоду в Москве



Путин в России и мире







Персональные новости
Russian.city

Семён Слепаков

«АиФ»: Раскрылась информация о новых долгах шоумена Семена Слепакова в России



News Every Day

Dumb Things In Marvel's Phase 4 That Didn't Make Any Sense




Friends of Today24

Музыкальные новости

Персональные новости