The seventh and final day of the Grenfell Tower inquiry wrapped up on Wednesday with more jarring testimony from the families of the fire’s victims.
It has been almost one year since the June 14 London blaze that took the lives of 72 people and injured more than 70 others. For the past week, the inquiry has looked into the tragedy and what could have been done differently for a better outcome. The inquiry has offered the families of those who died or were injured the opportunity to speak out and offer their testimony.
The sister of victim Raymond “Moses” Bernard said that her brother sheltered his neighbors in his flat on the 23rd floor and died trying to help others. Bernard’s sister, Bernadette Bernard, said that her brother was a hero who tragically died from suffocation and cyanide poisoning. Ms. Bernard said that the other residents could not escape the flames by heading down so they went up in an attempt to get away from the rising smoke. In addition to Bernard, the bodies of five other victims were found in Bernard’s bed while Bernard was found lying beside them on the floor. The other victims were identified as Hamid Kani, 61, Deborah Lamprell, 45, Berkti Haftom 29, and her son Biruk Haftom, 12, and Jessica Urbano (Ramirez), 12.
In other testimony, Nazanin Aghlani told the inquiry officials that she placed blamed on the council for her mother’s death. Aghlani’s mother, Sakineh Afrasiabi, died on the 18th floor. Aghlani said that her mother was disabled with only partial vision, yet the Kensington and Chelsea Council’s (RBKC) had placed her on the 18th floor of the building to live despite her limited mobility and sight. This corporate negligence impeded her mother’s right to escape, according to Aghlani.