Saturday 21 October 2017

Pregnant mother who escaped tower inferno loses baby, husband describes saving his family

The Grenfell tower blaze. Photo: GETTY
The Grenfell tower blaze. Photo: GETTY

Camilla Turner

A couple who escaped the Grenfell Tower blaze from the 21st floor have revealed how toxic fumes from the inferno killed their unborn son - just two months before he was due to be delivered.

Marcio and Andreia Gomes managed to escape from the high-rise block, stepping over bodies as they climbed down smoke-filled stairs with their two young daughters.

But their unborn baby was delivered hours later as a stillborn, while his mother was in an induced coma.

Mr Gomes told the heartbreaking story of how just hours after the whole family escaped he learnt that the poisonous fumes had claimed his baby son's life.

"The doctors came and said the baby's heart had stopped and the priority is the mother," said Mr Gomes (38), an IT manager.

"My wife gave birth that night while she was in an induced coma. At 11.03 in the evening my baby boy was born.

"I was holding him, he looked peaceful, like a baby that was just sleeping. I wanted to be there with him but he had already died."

Doctors at King's College Hospital explained to Mr Gomes that the baby's heart had stopped beating, and they needed to deliver him so that his wife did not contract an infection. "So he was born later that day and it was classed as a stillborn," Mr Gomes said.

He then faced the agonising task of telling his wife what had happened when she finally regained consciousness.

"I had to - we spoke about it and I explained, it was very emotional," he said. "At first she didn't want to talk about it and she said she didn't want to see the baby. But I know my wife; the hospital were really good at keeping the baby there for us. The next day she was very happy to see the baby, she didn't want the baby to go away."

Mr Gomes said his family already knew that Mrs Gomes was expecting a boy, and they had chosen the name Logan Isaac for him. Their two daughters - Megan (10) and Luana (12) - were excited about meeting their new baby brother. "This has hit them quite hard as well," he said.

Mr Gomes said he was woken at around 2am on the day of the blaze by a neighbour banging on the door.

He phoned the fire brigade repeatedly, begging them to help his family get out, explaining that his wife was seven months pregnant and asthmatic, and that his youngest daughter was also asthmatic. The instructions were always the same: to stay put.

It wasn't until about 3.30am when Mr Gomes saw flames burst into his bedroom that he realised he had to get his family out, no matter what. "I said to my family: 'The fire is in the flat. We have to go and we have to go now and there is no turning back'," he recalled.

"I kept shouting from the back 'keep going, keep going'.

"What I didn't realise is that there were already bodies on the stairwell we needed to step over."

He told of the horrifying moment when someone who was still alive and lying in the stairwell grabbed his calf as he walked down. "I just said to my girls keep going. There was nothing I could have done."

When he was more than halfway down, Mr Gomes realised his eldest daughter was not in front of him, so he ran back up the stairs to find her lying unconscious on the floor.

"At one point, which was the worst moment for me, I heard my daughter say: 'Dad, I can't go any more'. That's when I realised she was behind me. I told her to keep going, but my daughter said 'I can't, I can't move'."

The family were rushed to hospital, where Mrs Gomes and Luana were put in induced comas and treated for smoke inhalation.

Both have since been discharged, while Megan, who has asthma, remains in intensive care.

Mr Gomes said the family were planning to hold a funeral for their baby once the autopsy was complete.

Telegraph.co.uk

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