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Improbable escape from apt. 113 still haunts Grenfell fire survivors a month after deadly blaze – ABC News 

Dangling from his 14th-floor window, Oluwaseun Talabi could hear people on the ground yelling upward, urging him to climb back inside his apartment, No. 113, in the 24-story apartment building. The rope of knotted sheets hanging next to Oluwaseun didn’t reach the ground, more than 100 feet below.

“People were shouting, ‘Stay in your flat [apartment], they’re going to come and help, they’re going to come and help you,’” he said.

No, they’re not, Oluwaseun remembers thinking. “I wasn’t looking to die in there,” he told ABC News.

The fire, on June 14, had been burning for more than an hour by 2 a.m., and Oluwaseun was in “survival mode,” he said.

The Nigerian-born 30-year-old now looks physically strong, muscular, though, he said, he has lost a lot of weight since the deadly blaze.

Hanging from the window ledge that morning, he asked his girlfriend, Rosemary to hand him their 4-year-old daughter. He had planned to climb down the rope with the child in his arms. “But my daughter wasn’t having it,” he says, describing her as hysterical.

The flames had already shot up one side of the tower but were not yet visible from the family’s west-facing window. Investigators say a faulty refrigerator started the fire on the fourth floor before it spread to the top floor and, by about 2 a.m., began moving rapidly toward the west side of the building.

Just 15 minutes before Oluwaseun climbed out of his window, the fire brigade had arrived at Apt. 113, not offering an escape route, but ushering in five neighbors.

“Listen, your flat seems to be the safest flat at the moment,” the fire brigade told Oluwaseun. We’ll be back, they said.

 

“The Syrian refugees, they brought them into my flat,” Oluwaseun said, referring to brothers Mohammad and Omar Alhajali. “They brought an Irish guy, called Dennis … Zainab, her 2-year-old son,” Oluwesean said, counting on his hand. “So there was eight of us all together.”

 

“The Syrian refugees, they brought them into my flat,” Oluwaseun said, referring to brothers Mohammad and Omar Alhajali. “They brought an Irish guy, called Dennis … Zainab, her 2-year-old son,” Oluwesean said, counting on his hand. “So there was eight of us all together.”

 

With his crying daughter still inside, Oluwaseun struggled to hoist himself back through the window; he wasn’t going down alone.

“Guess who helped me up? One of the guys that is dead,” Oluwaseun said, spitting out the word “dead.”

“The Syrian guy and his brother pulled me back in, because I couldn’t pull myself back in.”

One of the brothers, Mohammad, didn’t survive, and Oluwaseun slows his vivid narration of the night to note that Mohammad’s last act on earth, perhaps, was saving his life.

“The Syrian guy didn’t deserve to die,” Oluwaseun says. “I’m here, I could’ve died. I don’t deserve it.”

Mohammad, 23, lived with brother Omar, 25, and their best friend from Deraa, Syria, Mahmoud Alkarad, 25, in Apt. 112, just next door.

Mahmoud happened to be out for the night, 10 minutes down the road when the fire started.( MOLLY HUNTER)

Link: http://abcnews.go.com/International/improbable-escape-apt-113-haunts-grenfell-fire-survivors/story?id=48566944

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