Son forced to leave elderly father behind as Grenfell Tower became a 'wall of fire', inquiry hears

10 October 2018, 15:29 | Updated: 10 October 2018, 17:44

A son who was forced to leave his elderly father in Grenfell Tower has said he could see "a wall of fire through the window".

"It felt like I was running away from my father," Samuel Daniels said.

Daniels, who lived on the 16th floor with 69-year-old Joseph, told the Grenfell inquiry that he grabbed his father and shouted at him to move.

The older man "was in a daze" and he could not move him.

Joseph, who had limited mobility, could not use stairs without help and suffered from dementia, was eventually found dead at the front door of the flat.

More than 70 people died as a result of the fire at Grenfell Tower last June.

In a written statement to the public inquiry into the fire, Mr Daniels said that as he ran to get help, he looked behind and "could just see a wall of fire through the window behind my father. I shouted at him to come with me."

"I closed the door again and shouted at my dad: 'Come on, come on. Get out.' He was not responding to me at all. He was in a daze," he added.

The survivor said he realised both he and his father would die if he remained with him.

"I covered my face with my hood and went out of the door into the corridor. I left the door open in case my father came behind me," he said.

Mr Daniels found a firefighter who radioed for help, but when a crew arrived five minutes later they failed to reach his father because they became confused about which floor they were on.

Establishing they were on the 11th floor, they tried again.

However, they returned soon after looking "totally petrified" and as if they were "running for their lives".

Mr Daniels, a former body builder who cared for his father full-time, said: "I asked the last one about my father. He said that they could not do anything.

"He told me no-one could go up there and I had to leave.

"I turned to the fireman I had been waiting with and he just said to me to get out.

"I ran with the firemen, and it felt like I was running away from my father."

A total of 71 people died in the blaze, with a 72nd victim dying months later in hospital.

The public inquiry is currently in its first phase, hearing from survivors, the bereaved and local residents at Holborn Bars, central London.