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Grenfell Inquiry: Woman describes being separated from father, 82, as they fled blaze

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A woman has described how she became separated from her frail 82-year-old father as they tried to escape from the 11th floor of the Grenfell Tower in a smoke-filled lift.

Nadia Jafari, who was recovering from having major surgery five days before the fire, fled with Ali Yawar Jafari after flames entered their flat.

She and Mr Jafari, who had diabetes as well as heart and mobility issues, attempted to escape the tower by using one of the lifts, but became separated in the darkness.

Mr Jafari’s body was discovered in the tower later.

In a written statement to the public inquiry, Ms Jafari recalled how her father was “panicking and sweating”, his hands were shaking and he needed a medicinal spray he used to help his heart.

The pair got into the only working lift, which became stuck at the 10th floor.

Ms Jafari described how the lights went off inside the lift and people “kept pushing buttons”. She said she tried to get out but someone was clinging on to her.

She said: “I couldn’t see who it was because it was so dark. I kept asking them to stop but she was clinging to me and holding my legs.

“It was terrifying, and the smoke was horrible. There was a strong and bitter chemical smell. I tried to speak, but it was too hard because of the smoke.”

CCTV images showed Ms Jafari leaving the building without her father and she told the inquiry how she later argued with a police officer who would not let her re-enter the tower to search for him.

Another Grenfell resident has described how her “heart sank” when she discovered her friend Rania Ibrahim was still on the top floor of the building when she phoned her to see if she had escaped.

Munira Mahmud said: “I just kept repeating ‘come down Rania. Come down’. She always listened to me.”

Mrs Mahmud later tried to ring her friend back, but was “absolutely devastated” when she could not get through.

She said: “I tried to stay positive hoping that a fireman would have found them and rescued them.

“If the emergency services had not told her to stay in the flat, then I believe she would have tried going downstairs to leave the tower and perhaps she would have made it out alive.

“She was a strong woman and could have carried her children down the stairs.”

Mrs Ibrahim’s sister and husband survived the fire, but she and her children all died.

A total of 72 people died in the blaze on 14 June last year, with another resident dying in January.

The inquiry is hearing from survivors, relatives and friends of those who died and nearby residents, at Holborn Bars in central London.

(c) Sky News 2018: Grenfell Inquiry: Woman describes being separated from father, 82, as they fled blaze