Heroic Aussie expat entered tower block inferno to help residents

Published:  15 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia
An Australian expat living and working in London disregarded his own safety in an attempt to rescue residents trapped inside the inferno of Grenfell Tower.

London-based Jody Martin left his apartment in a block adjacent to the ill-fated Grenfell Tower when he heard sirens and realised something was very wrong. At that point, the fire brigade had already arrived and firemen were trying to access the burning building. Seeing they had problems, he grabbed an axe and attempted to enter the building on the ground floor. On finding impassable steel doors and no obvious fire escape, he gave up and went back outside.

Then he had an idea, linked to a small bridge he’d noticed which connected the tower via its second floor to a smaller, adjacent structure including stairs. Taking his axe, he ran up the stairs and across the bridge and hacked his way into the tower through an apartment. The corridors were filled with choking smoke, visibility was down to three to four metres and the corridors were eerily quiet with no fire alarms sounding.Seeing an elderly couple coming down the stairs, he helped them to the fire exit, but the smoke quickly became too thick to see at all, forcing him to evacuate.

Once outside, he saw and heard people screaming from the windows, but all he could do was to urge them to get out as almost the entire side of the building was in flames. Then he saw the cladding catching fire like paper, flaming, dripping like plastic and falling down on those below. Families were hanging out of windows, screaming ‘save the children’, with some throwing them down in the hope that rescuers could catch them.

Back in his apartment, feeling sick that he couldn’t do more, Jody saw families on the top floor disappear from the windows as smoke and flames billowed out. By this time, the entire 24 story building was aflame. He told the media he’d only seen around seven people leave the building during the entire time he was there. He was lucky not to have been seriously hurt by the falling debris, having only sustained minor injuries from falling debris. Based on what he saw, he believes the death toll will rise significantly, and is devastated he couldn’t do more to help.
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