Logan Gomes, a stillborn baby whose family was from the 21st floor of Grenfell Tower
Logan Gomes was stillborn hours after his family escaped the
fire. Thankfully all other members of the family survived, although they were treated for cyanide poisoning in hospital.
Logan’s mother Andreia told BBC Newnight that she was furious about the cheap, less fireproof cladding which had been placed around Grenfell Tower and helped the fire spread.
“When you go ahead ignoring something like that I feel that
you don’t care. You just killed so many people and you just killed my son.”
Logan’s father Marcio Gomes gave a tribute to the baby,
through tears, on the first day of the Grenfell inquiry.
“On the night we managed to escape the horrific fire at around four in the morning. That same evening, we found out that we had lost our son, Logan, in the hospital…
Everyone was so happy that Logan was going to be
born. No-one more so than my wife Andreia. As you can see from the photos she was just glowing with happiness. The pregnancy suited her and all her friends, family were all very happy that Logan was being born. We cried, during the reveal party that we had, when I found out it was a boy.”
The other two Gomes children had been excited to welcome
their baby brother, Marcio said.
Maria del Pilar Burton, from the 19th floor of Grenfell Tower
Spainish health worker Maria del Pilar Burton, known to all
as Pily, did not die in the tower but passed away many months later from
complications caused by the fire. She shared her flat with her husband Nick, whom she met in a Spanish disco and remained married to for over three decades. They also had a pet dog, Lewis, which did not survive the fire. Pily suffered from dementia, and according to her husband it got worse when Grenfell Tower was refurbished.
“Of course the stress and problems related to the refurbishment of the tower made everything worse… the stress was upsetting and a terrible thing for Pily to take, and all I could do was to make her feel secure.”
After she passed away in January 2018, having been in hospital ever since the fire, her husband released a statement:
“My beautiful wife Maria Del Pilar, known to everyone as
Pily, passed away on January 29.
“Pily was well known in our community, she was what people call a real character. A character in the best sense of the word – she was flamboyant, colourful, passionate and friendly.
“Everyone on Portobello knew her and when we went to the market on the weekend she would stop and chat all the way along.
“She had such a big heart. We were together for 34 years. She was the love of my life.”
Abdeslam Sebbar, from the 11th floor of Grenfell Tower
Unfortunately Abdeslam Sebbar is a Grenfell Tower victim whom almost
nothing is known about, only that he was 77 years old, Moroccan, and died of fume inhalation. He was one of the few people not commemorated at the inquest, and the Guardian reported that attempts to contact his friends or relatives resulted in nothing.
However, in June 2018 the Scottish Daily Mail reported that Sebbar had
sons, and had a final phone call with them before he became a victim of the
fire. Later, a fraudster claimed to be another son of his and claimed money set aside for the Grenfell families; however he was caught and jailed for 18
Ernie Vital, from the 16th floor of
Ernie Vital, the son of Marjorie Vital, worked in the catering industry. He was 50 years old, and had lived in Grenfell for almost as long as it had been standing.
His family released a statement after he and his mother became victims of the fire:
“He was a proud, humble, mature and independent man. He was
a loyal son and law-abiding citizen who maintained good relationships with all those he met in society.
He will be remembered as a kind, sensitive and caring person
with a warm-hearted smile. His pursuit of happiness has been abruptly and dramatically stopped by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. His family and friends will miss him dearly.”
At the Grenfell inquiry his brother, who didn’t want to be
named by the media, remembered Ernie as “a very good dancer” who would sit and watch TV with him when they were younger. “We constantly watched TV because we didn’t really go out. It was a safe haven: in 1973, Caribbeans had a tough time, we weren’t particularly accepted by a proportion of the population.”
His body was found with his mother’s, and both sets of ashes
were scattered at sea. “I’ve never seen the water this blue …As I start to
release the ashes …I was breathing in the ashes, it was a magical moment. In a weird kind of way I became closer to them,” his brother said.
Marjorie Vital, from the 16th floor of
Marjorie Vital came from Soufrière in Dominica, and moved
with her parents to London in the 1950s. She had eight siblings, and was a
mother figure to the younger ones, braiding their hair and fixing their school uniforms.
She was a talented seamstress and spent a lot of her life doing that
work. “My mother was always working, busy creating a home
environment, and she had a full-time job,” her surviving son, who didn’t want to be named by the media, told the Grenfell inquiry. “She was an ambitious woman, but she put her ambitions aside for her children.”
Marjorie’s sister Paula told the inquiry that she had loved living at Grenfell.
“She loved living in the tower and was very proud of her
home which was always clean and tidy. Mama and Papa used to tease her, calling it ‘Marjorie’s Tower’”
Her family also had released an earlier statement speaking of her
personality and loves.
“Marjorie was 68 years old and she had worked in the textile
industry for many years. She was a beautiful, joyful, independent, intelligent, kind-hearted, sensitive individual who dedicated her life to her children. She carried herself with dignity and extended her warmth to family and friends.
Through her creativity and joy of life, she was an inspiration to many of us. She has been prematurely and dramatically taken from
this world and will be sadly missed by family and friends, both here in the UK and abroad.”
Marjorie was found with her son, Ernie, who lived with her. “There’s
some comfort in knowing they were together,” her son said.
Majorie’s and Ernie’s ashes were scattered at sea, in
Fatemeh Afrasiabi, from the 18th floor of Grenfell Tower
Fatemeh Afrasiabi, cousin of Sakineh Afrasehabi, was visiting her flat on the night of the fire. She had arrived to Britain as a refugee in 2013, originally being from Iran.
She had five children. All of them lived in Iran and she would FaceTime them constantly. Her daughter Raheleh spoke at the Grenfell inquiry about what kind of person her mother was.
“My mother had a passion for painting, she was a very good
painter. She used to make very beautiful paintings, creatively …
I wish I still had your kind and warm embrace.”
Another daughter, Sara, showed the inquiry a doll her mother had made for her. Fatemeh absolutely loved art and creating, and would always make her family nice things with her sewing machine.
A friend of Fatemeh’s also spoke at the inquiry:
“She was a great woman, she was not like the ordinary people.
She was very kind, the sympathy she was showing to everyone was incredible… An image I can’t forget is her smiling face.”
There was one family member who was not present, Fatemeh’s
husband. His visa was denied. His son decried this at the inquiry:
“I wanted to take this opportunity to remember my father,
who could not come to the UK, his visa application was refused, and he says that ‘I am spending my days and nights by the thought of my children and I want to be able to visit my wife’s grave’.”
A petition was started to get the whole family visas, it gained over 2000 signatures, but now it has gone.
“Every day, again and again, as our mind tries to make
sense of this disastrous tragedy, we come to the conclusion that it was not
only the horrifying fire that took my mum’s life that night.
The discrimination and failure in duty of care by the
housing allocations team which resulted in a vulnerable, physically disabled and partially sighted pensioner being housed on the 18th floor of a tower block equally took the life of my mum.
The very people who said, years before, that she was not to be housed above the fourth floor of a lifted building.
“She couldn’t go down 18 floors of stairs on a good day, let alone in a fire. Her human right to escape was denied even before the fire happened.”
However Sakina made the best of living in Grenfell Tower. “She had got used to her flat at the 18th floor,” her daughter Aklani said. “She used to say: ‘It’s as if I’m on a plane, I can see the whole of London
from up here.’”
Sakina was fond of the Queen, her daughter told the Grenfell inquiry, and on receiving British citizenship had told her “Elizabeth’s my queen now.” She also loved Portobello Market, sewing, and helping those who were in need. During the Iran-Iraq war she had stepped forward to shelter
members of her family.
During the Grenfell inquiry, her daughter Nazanin said that Sakina’s death had been caused by “corporate negligence.” “Grenfell was gross criminal negligence. If we settle for this, we deserve it,” she told the audience.
Her son also said some words about the night Sakina died.
They were distressing and very emotional:
“The night when she was burning, she told me not to come,
tried to look out for me even though she was being burned by fire and smoke, she told me not to come. In one sentence she taught me something I couldn’t find in any books – the meaning of life …If you want to know the meaning of love – unconditional love – look on the face of your mother.”
Like her cousin Fatemeh, Sakina had five children.
Vincent Chiejina, from the 17th floor of Grenfell Tower
Vincent Chiejina was 60 years old and from Nigeria. He moved
to Britain with his family when still a child, and looked after his younger
siblings whenever his mother was out at work. He loved science fiction and Star Trek, which he “watched religiously,” his family said.
He was a great student and his parents were given a grant to
send him to St Augustine’s College, where he won an award for mathematics. Later, he went to Sheffield University where he studied electrical engineering.
He was a religious person who attended St Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, and who devoted himself to doing good for his community. In older age he volunteered for the charity Open Age, which helps elderly people socialise with others.
Vincent’s sister Obi paid tribute to him at the Grenfell inquiry. He was a kind man who would always offer his chair up to other people, she said. “He was good at looking after vulnerable people and would never reject anybody because they were less privileged than himself.”
Steven Power, from the 15th floor of
Steven Power, 63, was an Irishman and a father of five. Reports claimed that after getting his daughter out of the building he refused to leave his dogs behind and died alongside them, although his daughter later said that wasn’t the case:
“Our dad lived in that block for so long that he would have experienced more than one fire there. I don’t know if that was why he was reluctant to leave that night and unfortunately we will never know.
I do know that my dad wasn’t in the tower when the fire started, but he came back to wake me up out of my sleep.
“Some of the news reports state that my dad didn’t want to leave because of his dogs, but this is not true.”
There was no doubt he loved his dogs, however. “Some people are famous in a block for loving their dogs,’ a Grenfell neighbour told LRB.
“There was this guy on the 15th floor, Steven Power, he had two bull terriers, you know those dogs? Loved them, he did. Would’ve died for those two dogs.”
Steve was a retired lorry driver who loved fishing and DJing. His daughter Sherrie described him as “nothing short of a character… he left some sort of impression on everyone.”
His ex-partner Claudia Davies spoke about him at the Grenfell inquiry:
“He had this twinkle in his eyes. He could just smile at me and I’d crumble. He was clever, too. He was always a quick thinker, one step ahead of everyone else in the room – able to crack a joke to wind someone up and start everyone laughing. He never lost that charm.”
After her speech, she turned to the chair of the inquiry,
Sir Martin Moore-Bick, and said, “Sir Martin, You do right by us all, and you
do right by my children.”
Raymond “Moses” Bernard, from the 23rd floor of Grenfell Tower
Raymond “Moses” Bernard, aged 63, lost his life while helping his neighbours in Grenfell Tower. He was born in Trinidad, but moved to Britain in 1969 and became an electrician. In 1973 he got married, and three children followed: two daughters and a son. At the time of his death he had lived in Grenfell Tower for 30 years, sharing his flat with his dog, Marley.
The Grenfell inquiry heard that Raymond sheltered people in his top-floor flat as the fire raged. His sister Bernadette said,
“Ray was a kind, gentle, compassionate man, a leader and adviser. He always said life is too short, try and be happy. He had lived on the top floor of Grenfell for over 30 years where he tragically lost his life.
The positioning of Deborah, Jessica, Berkti and Biruk were on my brother’s bed with my brother resting beside the bed on the floor. This shows the respect he gave to those who lost their lives that night and we know that he would have given comfort to each of them before they took their last breaths and departed this world.
Ray being a man and the strongest he was probably the last to die. He would have been so alone. We know from the details shared by the coroner that Ray was a hero on that tragic night.“
Raymond loved music and DJing, and was an avid supporter of the West Indies cricket team. His son Julian also attended the inquiry, but was too upset to read his statement himself. It was read for him:
“My dad had a personality that reflected the temperature of his childhood home in Trinidad, which was both warm and affectionate. He was an admirable man, a respected brother, a valued uncle, son, father, grandfather and friend. My dad was a people person. He could be anyone’s best friend because of his kindness and