“I’m A Grown Man Who is Now Afraid of The Dark”- Oluwaseun Talabi, Nigerian Grenfell Tower Inferno Survivor
“…We tried to run out of the door, that’s when the massive smoke, I can’t describe it to you, you have to be there to see but I wish you would never be in that sort of situation but yeah, you got to be there to understand it. It’s like an inferno coming towards the house, so we shut the door straight away.
We put a towel, a blanket and things like that around the door. My partner was holding it. While she was holding it, I run to the bathroom. I’ve got water and I start pouring it at the door. And while I was doing that, we saw smoke seeping through the door.
Then I started tying blankets together. I went around every room in the house, all the dirty blankets, all the clean ones, all the old ones we don’t use, I started tying them together and my partner asked me what I was doing. But I just carried on doing it, then I went back to the window, I started screaming “fire! Help please I’ve got a child here. Help please!”
I carried on in my survival mode. I carried on tying all the blankets together and everyone was looking at me like I was crazy like, “what are you doing ?”READ: I was burnt but not broken
From outside, they kept shouting “stay in your flat. They are going to come and help you.” but I kept on tying anyway, tied it as strong as I could. Then I tied it around the window. People were telling me “no, don’t do it””. But I was not looking to die in there. So I’ve climbed out the window and I told my partner to pass me my daughter but my daughter was not having it. She was crying.
Now my daughter isn’t coming.I’ve got to get back into the flat because I’m not going to go down without my daughter. So now I’m finding it difficult getting back into the flat because I’m dangling from outside of the window from the 14th floor. Guess who helped me out? One of the guys that is dead now. A Syrian guy and his brother pulled me back in because I couldn’t pull myself back in. But anyway -this is what Africans do you know, when they put like a child behind their back, and they tie him up- so I put my daughter on my back, used two wraps and tied it so tight, so when I have to go through that window again, my daughter doesn’t fall off my back.
I’m about to go through the window again, and the fire brigade has come and said, “Run!”
I’ve grabbed my missus by hand, my daughter tied to my back already, and I don’t look back. I don’t know who followed us, I don’t know who stayed in the building, we just ran. It was pitch black but we found our way through the thing and we are all coughing and choking. I can’t describe this choking.
Please God, I pray no one ever have to go through that. I can’t describe the choke. Literally, like I was going to die at that moment. To me, I was dead already. My daughter behind me was crying, my partner was falling down the stairs. I’m trying to make sure I don’t lose her, I’m trying to make sure my daughter is safe and I’m trying to be strong for myself. It was mad. I gave up.
Anyway, we kept on going and we got to the fourth floor or something, then I could see that the next floor below there’s light. So that kind of gave me energy, like just one more push. We’ve gone down now, the fire brigade had stopped us and tried to take my daughter away from my back, to rescue her. But because I’ve tied her so tight because I was going to take her from the window, it was kind of a struggle.
While I’m there I’m still inhaling some smoke and my daughter is still inhaling some smoke. My partner is waiting for us and she’s all scared like “where are these people?” So they grabbed my daughter off of me and took all of us to safety.
I’ve had probably about 10 hours sleep in one week. I can’t even go in the dark by myself. I’m scared of the dark. A grown ass man, I’m scared of the dark. Imagine going to the toilet and you have to switch on the light quickly. How long is that going to happen for? I can’t go back to work. You see the building I run at my workplace, it’s about the same height as this. I don’t know if I could go back and do the same thing. Every little thing is just going to get me scared and paranoid.
I need to get myself. I need to sleep. I need to be able to sleep…”
Transcribed by Diaryofanaijagirl.com from Abcnews.com SURVIVING THE GRENFELL TOWER INFERNO