Thursday, 28 June 2018

Grenfell Tower Questions???

How did the fire start? Who made the first 999 call?

"The fire is thought to have been caused by Mr Kebede's fridge." (Image PA)

"After calling 999 and alerting neighbours Mr Kebede fled the tower." (Image PA) The Times states this was logged at 12.58 am. This was four minutes after the first recorded call to the Fire Brigade at 12.54.

The two images above are taken from a (Daily) Mirror newspaper article on the 21st June, 2018 here:
They both claim to show Mr Behailu Kebede leaving the Grenfell Tower building, the inference being that this was after fire had broken out in his flat (Number 16) on the fourth floor of the block. 

In both images he appears to be making his way to the entrance/exit as shown by the floor grating holding a mobile phone. However there is clearly a problem and it is a BIG one! 

The two locations appear to be different and Mr Kebede is clearly wearing different clothes. So these images must have been taken at different times and they cannot both be of the moment he left the building, post fire.

The question therefore arises, given the sensitive nature of the images, how were they allowed into the public domain and for what purpose; and why given the different times to which they relate, was this and its implications not made clear? If one of the images does not relate to the fire, how can we be sure the other portrays what it purports?

But that is not the only issue thrown up by these images. 

In the Times of the 22nd June, 2018, Mr Kebede is quoted as saying, "I banged on the bedroom doors at about the same time as I was calling 999. I then ran out of my flat barefoot, wearing only my boxer shorts and T-shirt. I banged on the front doors of all the five other flats on the fourth floor ... Most understood the urgency and some began screaming."

He continued, "I ended up leaving my flat without any personal possessions. All I had on me were the clothes I was wearing and my mobile phone with which I was calling 999. I left without my shoes, my wallet, my second mobile phone, my flat keys or my car keys."

So what is the problem with this account? In fact there are several serious ones as far as I can tell!

First note the rather strange behaviour and account of what happened. He banged on the bedroom doors in his flat, yet he appears to make no attempt to open the doors to ensure whoever is inside the rooms is made aware of the danger and is physically removed. Who would leave such a thing to chance?

There is no mention of whether the occupants got out safely with him, although separately reported it subsequently transpired he had two female lodgers - Elsa Afeworki and Almaz Kinfu - one of whom had a large silver suitcase that earlier had been assumed to be his. He also claims to have raised the alarm on the landing whilst dialling 999. 

Indeed the first 999 call is timed four (4) minutes prior to the second photo above of him leaving barefoot without shoes which might fit, but there is another big problem with this account.

First there is absolutely no collaborative background noise to support the description of what he was doing at the time - i.e. banging doors and shouting warnings, but much more importantly the recorded 12.54 am first 999 call, identifying the room 16 and a problem with the refrigerator is made outside the building! The emergency operator asks the question several times, "Are you outside and safe?" and the caller states clearly and repeats, he is.

Listen to the first 999 call timed at 12.54 am here:

The conclusion to be drawn from this is extraordinary and crucial and can only be one of the following:

  • the recorded caller misrepresented he was outside the building when he made the call
  • Kebede did not call 999 whilst still on the fourth floor but did so when he got outside. The problem with this is that he is videoed still in the building four minutes after the first call is made

Of course it raises secondary questions as to the reliability of Mr Kebede's account and even if the man who made the first call was actually him or someone else entirely! 

After all if Kebede was filmed coming down the stairs at 12.58 am, he physically could not have been the person who made the 999 call four minutes prior to that at 12.54 am. 

The second photo image of Kebede, if genuine must have been taken four minutes after someone else had phoned from outside!

Did Kebede phone the emergency services at all and if not why was he checking his phone as he came down the steps?

Is it not very strange that no one in police, press or inquiry have noticed this startling fact or sought an explanation for it?

But that is not the only problem highlighted by the two pictures at top of page showing Kebede leaving the building.

Note he said he was wearing only boxer shorts and T-shirt when he abandoned his flat 16 and the fourth floor. However although the second image does show him bare foot he most definitely is not only wearing boxer shorts. He appears to be wearing casual slacks - in fact the same as the ones he is wearing in the first photograph, though with a different top.

Also very strange, neither of these photographs display any sign of panic or even anxiety. There is no suggestion of rush or even the signs of smoke contamination on his clothes. His hands and arms as well as feet show no sign of soot or smoke contamination.

Further in both photographs he is clearly leaving alone. If as he reported he had raised all the other occupants on the floor, surely some would have been leaving with him? And not even his two lodgers with him?

Room photographs show red plastic covering the electric point behind the refrigerator, presumably placed there by the Fire Brigade as it shows no sign of melting with the heat. The sink unit is rather strangely bent upward and is charred under. Was wrenched up by a strong fireman or forced up by some explosive force?

Image result for grenfell tower images inside

In any event if Mr Kibede was in the flat as described when "white smoke started billowing from behind the fridge/freezer" there is no suggestion he made any attempt to turn off the electrical supply of fight the fire in any way before abandoning the flat and its occupants. Nor do the above photographs support the description below that he was "rushing outside".  The photograph rather suggests a certain nonchalance about the whole thing, that is if it can be relied upon.

Flat 16 Interior.
Image result for grenfell tower images inside

The fact that the police offered 'witness protection' at an 'unknown address' appears unusual for the victim of a fire or crime and is much more common when regarded as police agent or asset, although I am not suggesting this was the case here.

Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry: Flat 16 - In pictures

From the Mirror here:

"Mr Kebede was woken by the sound of his smoke alarm shortly before 1am on June 14, and found white smoke billowing from behind his fridge-freezer.

He alerted his two female housemates, Elsa Afeworki and Almaz Kinfu, before knocking on every door of the neighbouring flats on the block's fourth floor and then rushing outside.
Suggestions that he caused the fire by tampering with his fridge-freezer or that he had packed a bag before escaping led to safety concerns from the police.
He said in a statement to the inquiry, published on Thursday: "I met a number of officers there. They offered to take me to an unknown address outside London for my own protection.
"They wanted to put me into witness protection because they were concerned about reports in the press that showed me in a negative light, reports suggesting that I was to blame for the fire.""

So to summarise, for obvious reasons Mr Kebede and Flat 16 on the fourth floor of Grenfell Tower have become, to a certain extent, the centre of attention. 
All recent newspaper reports have repeated the same line that he was not to blame and "did everything he could" to prevent the disaster. Apparently it is unlikely he will be called in person or cross examined by the inquiry currently sitting.
However this should not interfere with sensible consideration of his account to ensure it is in all respects accurate and truthful. 
One thing is clear as I have demonstrated above, if the first caller rang the Emergency Services at 12.54 am from outside the building, it could not have been been Mr Kibede as claimed, if the image of him still in the building on the way out at 12.58 is reliable!

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