Monday 25 September 2017

'I'm stuck in the fire' - Frantic words of second-generation Irishman missing after Grenfell Tower tragedy

Dennis Murphy has been missing since the fire broke out at Grenfell Tower
Dennis Murphy has been missing since the fire broke out at Grenfell Tower
Dennis Murphy

Kathy Armstrong

The family of a second-generation Irish man who is missing after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London said they are "clinging onto hope."

At least 17 people died and dozens more were injured when the blaze ripped through the 27-storey building in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

One of those unaccounted for is Dennis Murphy (56), who told his sister Anne Marie that he was  "trapped" on the 14th floor.

A spokesman for the Murphy family urged anyone with any information about Dennis to contact them.

He told Independent.ie: "He left his brother a voicemail at 1.30am saying, 'I'm stuck in the fire, there's black smoke everywhere and they are telling us to stay in the flat.

"His last contact was with his sister Anne Marie at 2am saying he was trapped and then his phone went dead."

A photo taken by local resident Natalie Oxford shows flames coming from Grenfell Tower. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A photo taken by local resident Natalie Oxford shows flames coming from Grenfell Tower. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Read More: Everything you need to know a day after the Grenfell Tower fire

Father-of-one Dennis' mother Anne moved from Limerick to the UK and although he was born in London and is "proudly English", his family say he never lost touch with his Irish roots.

The spokesman said: "He is a Londoner and fiercely proud of that but also proud of his Irish heritage.

"His mother moved to the UK in the late 1950s, the family is from Limerick and we still have a lot of relatives there.

"Dennis is proudly English. Chelsea Football through and through.

"We often said if you cut him he would bleed blue for Chelsea.

"On and off he lived in the same block over 30 years on different floors, he lived on the 14th floor in flat 111.

"He is well known and well loved in the area."
The family member said Dennis' loved ones are going through a nightmare as they wait for answers.

He said of their ordeal: "I've called every hospital and visited every centre but we've got nothing.

"Everyone's in pieces, we're clinging onto hope but I could see some of the family losing it earlier and that was heartbreaking.

"Then when we heard about people being found safe that did give us some fresh hope, it's all we have right now."

Read More: Some Grenfell Tower disaster victims may never be identified, police warn

The relative said they are desperate for any information about Dennis and are overwhelmed by the support they've received since the blaze.

He said: "We're hoping the message gets out to a nurse who recognises him and we get some news.

"It's horrendous but the love shown reassures you.

"We may have differences. But we have been united in worry and grief.

"The love shown is irrespective of faith, age, colour, creed or sexuality - London has come together. That has been the greatest solice."

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs told Independent.ie they cannot confirm whether any Irish people were caught up in the fire but they said they are ready to provide consular assistance if requested.

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