The sisters, Sakineh and Fatemeh Afrasiabi, lived on the 18th floor of the tower block despite the former being disabled and only able to move with a walking frame. Sakineh’s children told the Guardian that she was rehoused in Grenfell last year after her requests for an accessible flat fell on deaf ears.
Her daughter, Nazanin Aklani, sobbed as she told the Guardian that her mother had previously been denied a ground floor flat: “She was forced to live there because she had no other option. On a good day she couldn’t come down 18 floors – but in the fire and smoke?”
Nazanin’s brother, Shahrokh, a 48-year-old taxi driver, was on the phone to his aunt, Fatemeh, as the fire spread to upper floors. “She said, ‘We’ve come to the 23rd floor, flat 205.’ An Afghan family lived there and because my mum is disabled, the Afghan guy helped to bring my mum from the 18th floor to the 23rd floor in his own house to put them away from fire,” he said.
Shahrokh’s aunt and mother were together as the fire raged, and his aunt pleaded with him to get them help: “She asked what happened, ‘Why aren’t they sending helicopters to rescue us?’. I tried to stay in touch with my aunt and then in the last minutes she was quiet, her breaths could be numbered, and the phone disconnected.”
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