Shelagh Fogarty is Leading Britain's Conversation.
19 June 2017, 15:12
Axe-Wielding Hero Who Rescued People From Grenfell Tower Tells Heartbreaking Story
An incredible account from a man who took matters into his own hands and fought his way inside Grenfell Tower to save people.
Jody Munn was at home in his flat early last Wednesday morning when he noticed fire engines trying to get through to the estate. He went outside and saw the glow of the fire.
“I went downstairs and ran across there to see what I could do.”
He saw fire crews preparing their equipment but didn’t feel there was enough urgency, so he decided to do whatever he could: “I grabbed a fire axe out of the truck and went around the building trying to find a fire exit to get into the building.
“I chopped at one door but it was steel door and I couldn’t get through it. Then I noticed a bridge going into the first floor form an adjacent building.”
He got past security bars and got into a flat through a window. He looked through it and found no one there so headed up to the second floor.
“There was an old couple coming out looking for a fire exit. I got them down to level one and when I got them down there that’s when the fire brigade reached level one.”
“It was all very smokey, very confused. I couldn’t really see past arms length.” Jody inhaled smoke and had to get out of the building.
Once outside he told the fire chief what was happening on the other side of the building and told them to get a ladder around there. They did so, which enabled people on the fourth floor to climb down.
Jody said it was surprisingly quiet at this point with no alarms going off. He said he could hear the pumps in the fire trucks going.
“It was quiet enough to have a conversation with people in the building up on the fifth floor.”
He then went around the building trying to shout to people inside: “Get out of the building, the whole thing’s going up. Get out, get out.”
One of the fire officers told him to stop telling people to do that and that they people were better off staying put for now.
Jody told the officer to go with him and see the other side of the building.
“When he saw it his face just dropped. He obviously hadn’t seen it. It was raining down fire, chunks of metal and plastic and bits of building.
“He changed his announcement then from ‘stay in your flat’ to ‘get out if you can’.”
Jody continued to do what he could, helping the fire fighters to unroll their hoses. Once the police turned up he was ordered back behind a cordon, so he went back to his flat where he watched the tragedy unfold.
“It was complete carnage,” he said.
He watched families stuck in their flats unable to get down: “I saw families in their windows… the smoke billowing in. First of all white smoke billowing and they were leaning out of their windows, then more intense and more intense black smoke, and then they just weren’t there anymore. And then the flame starts consuming that apartment.”
One scene in particular has stuck with him. A family of three high up on the fifteenth floor, close to the top of the building. He watched them, trapped in their flat, for around two hours until they finally succumbed to the blaze.
In the days since the fire Jody said he’s had some trouble sleeping and that he feels a sense of anger at what happened.
“Today, as I look back over everything I’m really frustrated. I’m angry. I’m upset.
“I’m upset at the disorganisation of it. I’m upset they spent that sort of money, £10m, to turn the building into a trap
“£10m would have been better off being spent somewhere else. Then you’d have however many people still alive."