Thursday 17 October 2019

Grenfell survivor used Google for escape tips

A total of 72 people perished as a result of the blaze in the west London block on June 14 last year. Photo credit: Rick Findler/PA Wire
A total of 72 people perished as a result of the blaze in the west London block on June 14 last year. Photo credit: Rick Findler/PA Wire

Jemma Crew

One of two survivors to escape the 22nd floor of Grenfell Tower used Google to find out how to flee the high rise as she waited in vain for rescue.

Dr Naomi Chia-Yuan Li was initially told by the London Fire Brigade to stay inside when she called 999 reporting the smell of smoke - advice she relayed to her neighbours.

She was finally told to get out when she made her final call just after 3am, and she managed to flee through thick smoke down 22 flights of stairs with her cousin Lydia.

The 11 neighbours they had been sheltering with all died, as did the occupants of the remaining flats on their floor.

Dr Li said in a written statement to the public inquiry into the fire: "I was just messaging Lee (Dr Li's husband) and trying to Google how to escape from a fire in a tall building.

"I was looking at Mandarin websites. It basically said stay indoors but if you must, run downstairs, don't run upstairs. I was just trying to make sure we were doing the right thing.

"I was assuming the fire service would put out the fire and then someone could come to tell us what to do.

"I didn't think they would need to save us, more that they would put out the fire and then come to tell us whether we had to leave the building or not."

A total of 72 people perished as a result of the blaze in the west London block on June 14 last year.

Irish Independent

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