A woman who attempted to flee Grenfell Tower with her frail, elderly father has described the “terrifying” moment smoke began to fill the lift they were trapped in.
Nadia Jafari, who was recovering from major surgery five days previously, fled with her 82-year old father, Ali Yawar Jafari, after flames entered their 11th floor flat.
She and Mr Jafari, who had diabetes, as well as heart and mobility issues, attempted to escape the tower by using one of the lifts, but became separated in the darkness.
Mr Jafari’s body was discovered in the tower later.
In a written statement to the public inquiry, Ms Jafari recalled how her father was “panicking and sweating”, his hands were shaking and he needed a medicinal spray he used to help his heart.
The pair got into the only working lift, which became stuck at the 10th floor.
Ms Jafari said: “The lights went off and dark smoke began to come into the lift.
“People began to panic and kept pushing the buttons.
“Eventually the doors opened. I tried to get out but it was difficult. I realised that there was someone behind me who was holding on to me.
“I couldn’t see who it was because it was so dark. I kept asking them to stop but she was clinging to me and holding my legs.
“It was terrifying, and the smoke was horrible. There was a strong and bitter chemical smell. I tried to speak, but it was too hard because of the smoke.”
Ms Jafari added: “The only thing that I heard my father say in the lift was to tell me I should cover my mouth with my scarf.”
The doors then closed and the lift went down to the ground floor, but Mr Jafari was nowhere to be seen.
Ms Jafari said she realised her father must have got out of the lift on the 10th floor.
CCTV images show Ms Jafari leaving the tower at 1.27am. Her mother, Fatima, and sister, Maria, also made it out alive.
A total of 72 people died in the blaze on June 14 last year, with another resident dying in January.
The inquiry is hearing from survivors, relatives and friends of those who died and nearby residents, at Holborn Bars in Central London.
I do not understand why I could not have been shown pictures of my father or told what had happened much sooner. It is now clear that my father was found very quickly, but we had the pain of not knowing what had happened for weeksNadia Jafari
Ms Jafari said a post-mortem examination on her father’s body took place two days after the fire, but her family were not informed for around two weeks.
Not knowing her father’s final movements for this period was “very distressing”, she said.
She said: “I do not understand why I could not have been shown pictures of my father or told what had happened much sooner.
“It is now clear that my father was found very quickly, but we had the pain of not knowing what had happened for weeks.”
When she saw her father’s body, his face was covered with smoke marks.
She added: “The delay in finding out what had happened and how my father was treated made things worse, and I wish I had been told much sooner the truth of what happened.
“No-one deserves to die in that way.”