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Firefighters left 'truly traumatised' by Grenfell Tower blaze
London firefighters in tears at 'truly horrible and shocking' Grenfell Tower blaze
Behind this disaster lies a brutal indifference to the lives of the poor
London firefighters who fought the Grenfell Tower blaze before they went off duty.
Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images
Grenfell Tower rose into the horizon I could see from the bedroom I had occupied since infancy, just as I prepared to leave home in the early 1970s. It spliced the view from the slope of Notting Hill of the Westway flyover towards Shepherd’s Bush, at the rougher end of the area in which I grew up, and where I counted good friends and neighbours, people I could watch QPR with and visit in the squats they occupied along Latimer Road.
Last Thursday evening my mother and I looked out from our stairway landing at what is now the outrageous crematorium on the skyline. By Friday morning I’d counted only a couple of hours’ sleep, as the hollow eyes of charred Grenfell Tower stared through the window; the nights haunted with ghosts of those missing – some from my local pub – and with grief and rage. The rage is carried on those questions that mostly focus on the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – RBKC – the body that claims to govern the neighbourhood, and which supervised vast change to what has become, since the tower was built, Britain’s richest borough. The questions also target a whole culture, the toxic language and political premises that brought those changes about, and which in their way exposed Grenfell Tower’s inhabitants to a fiery death one dare not imagine, but now must.
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