One can only imagine the fear and hopelessness felt by those stuck in the Grenfell Tower as a raging fire licked through the building from the ground up, trapping families, including little children. As the fire raged and salvation seemed even more impossible, a desperate mother took a very risky decision to save her daughter by throwing her out of their apartment on the fifth floor.
The distance from the fifth floor to the ground was about 50ft but the mother, seeing no other way, threw her 4-year-old daughter down, not sure whether someone would catch her or not, but she was willing to try all the same.
By some stroke of luck, a heroic neighbour saw the child falling as though from the sky and quickly caught her. The neighbour has been named simply as Pat. He too seemed shaken from the incident as he tucked the child into his chest and crashed down under a tree to take shelter from falling debris.
The little girl can be seen in a photo with her eyes closed while her saviour looked up at the fire above in horror. Sadly, it is believed that her mother died in the fire which claimed several lives. The little girl was treated by paramedics at the scene and Pat was taken to a hospital.
20-year-old Kadelia Woods, a resident, said:
“The mum had the little girl’s head wrapped in a towel and was holding her out of the window and was screaming for help. The fire was raging like crazy. It was about 2 a.m. and the flat was filled with smoke. Pat was calling: ‘Drop her, I’ll catch her’.
The mum was screaming: ‘No, no, I can’t!’ Pat kept reassuring her and then the girl dropped. Everyone’s hearts stopped but Pat managed to catch her like a rugby ball tucked into his chest.”
Samira Lamrani, an eyewitness at the scene, said she saw a man run forward to catch the child after a woman on the ninth or 10th floor indicated she wanted to drop it out of harm’s way.
“A woman was gesturing like she was about to throw her baby, if somebody could catch her baby. And somebody did and a member of the public, a gentleman, ran forward and managed to grab the baby.”
Pat’s heroic catch evoked great emotion in everyone who heard about it and saw the photo. His is one of many acts of great heroism that have emerged in the aftermath of the worst fire in Britain for decades.