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The Story of the Grenfell Tower

Shahin Sadafi
BOLDtalks 2018

Grenfell Tower, in North Kensington (Inner London), is mainly a working-class housing complex surrounded by affluent neighbourhoods in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. A little past midnight on the day of 14th June 2017, a fire broke out on the fourth floor of this 24-storey tower, and within 30 minutes the fire was out of control. As it burned for over 60 hours, more than 250 London Fire Brigade firefighters and 70 fire engines were involved from stations all across London in efforts to control the fire. The end was devastating: 71 deaths and over 70 injuries. Occupants of 23 of the 129 flats had died.

Prior to this tragic night, the residents have expressed significant safety concerns, with criticism leveled against the council for fire safety and building maintenance failures. They had also said repeatedly that in the event of a fire, their escape path was limited to a single staircase. Moreover, only third of the building’s gas pipes were covered by fire-retardant boxing; a concern that was raised months before the fire broke out.

Shahin Sadafi - a resident and a survivor of this tragic incident – gives a first hand talk of making it out alive, as well as his efforts in establishing the Grenfell United association that with an ultimate mission to unite the bereaved families and survivors with the with a strong and dignified voice, as well as assist their immediate and long term needs which includes campaigning for justice, access to housing and charitable funds, trauma support and taking part in major fundraising projects.

Shahin has received acknowledgment for the ongoing and remarkable work he is doing along with Grenfell united which include special recognition, Pride of Britain 2017 award and London football awards, for community project of the year 2017 for taking part in Game 4Grenfell. Both of which were a huge success in creating awareness and igniting hope. However, he continues to stay focused on supporting Grenfell United and the wider community to seek justice and to rebuild a strong, resilient community which he holds close to his heart.

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