Grenfell Tower fire: Muslims who were still awake because of Ramadan saved residents’ lives

Muslim residents in the Grenfell Tower saved lives as they were awake at the time of the huge blaze because of Ramadan.

They were among the first in the 24-storey building to alert other residents as it became engulfed in flames – the fire was first reported at about 1.15am on Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Police has said there are six people confirmed dead in the fire, but that it expects that number to rise.

A witness said that Muslim residents banged on the doors of neighbours and helped guide them to safety out of the tower.

Smoke billows from the Grenfell Tower on Wednesday morning (Picture: PA)

Local resident Rashida told Sky News: ‘Most Muslims now observing Ramadan will normally not go to bed until about 2am, maybe 2.30am.

‘Until they have their late night last meal. They do their last prayer.

‘So most of the families around here would have been awake and I think even with the noise with the helicopters, it would have brought a lot of attention to a lot of residents – non-Muslim as well – that would have thought something’s going on that’s not quite normal.’

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Rashida added: ‘It’s a very diverse area, we have all nationalities, all religions.

‘You can walk around safely late at night… we all know each other.

“We all know each other, there is a very high population of Moroccans, and for some reason we all live close to each other. Literally everyone knows each other.”

Some residents who did escape said they weren’t woken up by the fire alarms in the building because they were too quiet.

The public has donated supplies to evacuated residents (Picture: Rex)

Nadia Yousuf, 29, told BuzzFeed that Muslim residents were among the first to notice the fire.

‘They saw it just after they woke up to eat’, she said.

Andre Barroso, 33, told The Independent: ‘Muslims played a big part in getting a lot of people out.

‘Most of the people I could see were Muslim. They have also been providing food and clothes.’

‘Everybody was hands on. It was wonderful to see everyone come together.’

A man known as Michael told Sky News: ‘I wasn’t woken up by the alarms at all, they were very very quiet the alarm,’ he said.

The fire was reported at 1.15am on Wednesday (Picture: Rex)

‘I was in bed, and I was on the verge of falling asleep and I smelt plastic. I woke up and looked around the flat, checked the plugs, everything was okay.

‘I went to the window to smoke a cigarette, I opened the window, and I heard someone saying, “It’s getting bigger, its getting bigger”.

‘So, I’ve got out to the hallway, I’ve looked through the spy hole, I’ve seen smoke everywhere, Ive opened the door and the neighbours were there.

‘People screaming, there were firemen saying, “Get down the stairs”. I’ve grabbed the little girl, I’ve grabbed my girlfriend, just in a pair of boxer shorts and a dressing gown, someone gave me these clothes, and this is it and now we are here.’

The Grenfell Tower before the blaze (Picture: ITV News)

Turafat Yilma, a 39-year-old resident on the building’s seventh floor, was awoken by a call from her neighbour on the 17th floor telling her to escape.

The dense smoke filling the corridors meant she was unable to get to safety with her five-year-old son Abem and husband Abraham, 44, until the fire brigade arrived.

Speaking as smoke billowed from the tower’s charred remains in the background, she said: ‘There was no fire around at all and after around 40 minutes a friend of ours called us from the 17th floor to tell us to get out – there is a fire.

‘I tried to escape but the smoke was so heavy, so we thought just call 999 because I could not use the staircase.

‘A fireman came and knocked on the door and all of us just had to follow them, my husband carrying my son and just me, it took us less than five minutes.

‘I wasn’t aware the fire was so large until we came outside.

‘The flames were from the fourth floor and it just went up ten floors and it was really bad at the time, it was really really bad.’