Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Firefighters Failed to Help Those Killed in Flats Blaze, Say Survivors

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Firefighters Failed to Help Those Killed in Flats Blaze, Say Survivors

Article excerpt

Byline: Danny Brierley

SURVIVORS of the Camberwell tower block inferno have accused firefighters of failing to help those who lost their lives in the blaze.

During a highly charged public meeting, residents who escaped the fire claimed they were ordered back from the block's only stairwell by firefighters.

Many said they only managed to get out by ignoring the firefighters' instructions to stay inside their maisonette homes in the 13-storey Lakanal House on the Sceaux Gardens Estate.

Members of the Fire Brigade said it was vital firefighters had access to the stairwell to fight the fire.

Residents demanded answers from officers at a residents association meeting held in an identical neighbouring tower block last night.

Yolimar Caboz, 33, whose friend Dayana Francisquini, 26, her threeyear-old son Felipe, and six-year-old daughter Thais perished while cowering from the flames in their flat, fought back tears as she repeatedly asked why her friend had been told to abandon an attempt to descend the stairwell to safety.

They died in Miss Francisquini's bathroom along with Helen Udoaka and 'When my come down her three-week-old baby Michelle.

firefighters back to her No one went

Resident Yolimar

Rasheed Nuhu, his wife Fatima and children Mariam, three, and Yasmeenah, 19 months, had also been in the room but escaped unhurt after ignoring the firefighters' advice.

The sixth victim, Catherine Hickman, a 31-year-old fashion designer, died in a flat next door.

Miss Caboz, who urged Miss Francisquini to leave her flat while talking on the telephone before she died, told London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson: "My best friend died and I would like to know why, when she tried to come down the stairs, firefighters told her to go back to her bedroom. I told firefighters and police that she was in there and pointed at her flat and no one went to get her. …

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