[Image: A young black boy in a blue checked shirt, who is looking directly at the camera]

Part 26 of a series of posts honoring the Grenfell Tower victims.

Isaac Paulos, from the 18th floor of
Grenfell Tower

Isaac Paulos was five years old, one of the youngest victims of the fire, and the only one of his family to die. His hand slipped from his father’s as the family ran to safety, and he didn’t make it.

He loved football, swimming and taekwondo, his family said of him, and “did everything with passion and joy.” He was studious, too – he spoke two languages, English and Amharic, and “wouldn’t leave his seat without finishing his homework.” His teacher recalled that he was very good at maths. “He was a shining star who not only had the intellectual capacity but the emotional maturity that could take him far in

After he was identified as a victim his family released a statement saying,

“We will all miss our kind, energetic, generous little boy.

He was such a good boy who was loved by his friends and family.

“We will miss him forever, but we know God is looking after him now and that he is safe in heaven.”

One of his young friends gave a letter to be read out at Isaac’s funeral, which said a similar thing. “Isaac can still play in heaven with the other children.” Isaac loved his friends, one of his teachers said at the inquiry.

“He was very caring with his friends. He was tying a superman cape around the neck of one of them and said ‘I can’t tie it too tight because it’s dangerous’ and I thought that was so caring for a little boy.”

His father, Paulos Tekle, spoke about him at the Grenfell inquiry and also spoke of his anger over the fire brigade’s “stay put” policy which caused them to stay in their flat.

“My son was beautiful, a little boy with so much potential. I will never forget Isaac’s big beautiful eyes, his calm-looking wait for his Dad to save them all. But I didn’t, because I listened to the authorities and that makes me angry.

“Are we not human? I have to live with the guilt of not protecting my son every day. I am broken and now the only thing that can make me whole again is to fight for the truth and justice in Isaac’s name, and for
my living son and their mother.”