There’s only one news on telly lately, and it is about the fire in London. If you are not from the UK, and have not heard about the story already, here’s the short version of the news.
A 24 storey tower block caught fire in the middle of the night few days ago. The fire was so big, and spread so fast, the fire department could not get inside and save everybody in time. As the result, many people died, and until the time I am writing this, the officials haven’t been able to announce exactly how many fatalities, and their identification.
The fire was so unexpected, as the UK is probably one of few countries with a very strict building regulations. The investigation is still ongoing, so how exactly things went catastrophically wrong hasn’t been announced. However, this tragedy has lead the re-evaluation to other residential tower blocks in the country, especially those with similar structure and building materials.
Right now, what was the rescue mission, is now a recovery mission. The officials now believe that it is very unlikely that anyone would survive the fire by now. Even the recovery mission is going very slowly, as the integrity of the building itself has now become questionable after the fire. The survivors, the residents, and their family and friends are now very impatient and restless, understandably.
As the recovery mission going, and people waiting, the stories of everybody who are affected by the fire started to trickle. The heroic rescuers, the desperate mothers, the grieving lovers. Every story is painful, but there’s one that feels very personal to me.
There’s a story about three brothers who lived in one of the flat in the building. Two of them were there when the fire started to spread. The older brother told the younger one to run to save himself, just before he himself run towards the think and heavy black smoke. He didn’t look back, I think he was almost passed out himself because he has been inhaling so much smoke.
When he was out, he realised that the younger brother wasn’t with him, so he phoned the younger brother to make sure that he’s escaped as well. He wasn’t. In fact, the younger brother was still in their flat, and trapped there.
“Why didn’t you get out?” the older brother asked.
“Why did you leave me?” the younger brother replied.
The older brother begged the rescuers to save the younger brother, giving them the flat number, but it was too late. The other brother was still connected on the phone, right until the last second — when the phone finally died.
That particular story saddened me the most, because I have siblings too. My two sisters and I once shared a flat too. The three of us lived in a tower block, probably not to dissimilar to this one in London. So, when I heard this story, I couldn’t help thinking of my sisters, and how I would feel if I was in the position of the older brother.
What if I lost my sister in such a tragedy? Even thinking about it made me extemely sad.
Unfortunately it is not too long until I will see them again. Time to refuel my spaceship for a quick visit…