Sky News has been given exclusive access to an interactive 3D model of the Grenfell Tower which aims to provide an unrivalled understanding of the fire that killed 71 people.
The team of architects, designers and academic researchers are called Forensic Architecture, based at Goldsmiths, University of London, and they focus on investigating human rights violations throughout the world. Grenfell is their first project in the UK.
The agency has scoured TV footage of the night, mobile phone data and witness testimony to recreate what people would have seen and heard and has used this to build a minute-by-minute account of the fire, covering eight hours.
Bob Trafford is one of the researchers working on the project. He said: “We realised that this was an event unprecedented in British history and in London’s history and we resolved that there must be a way that we could make a unique contribution to the public understanding of this catastrophe.
“This will be a historical tool, this will be a tool that we hope will be the most complete publicly available record of the circumstances of the night of the fire and it’s a record that will be built from all the publicly available information, information that we hope and that we are asking that the public will share with us.”
One person with a powerful story to share is Jacqui Haynes. She has lived next to Grenfell Tower for 40 years and was outside that night and saw the flames engulf the building.
She said: “When you watch it just go up in seconds, it just didn’t fit with what your mind knows should be happening.
“Then the people screaming and then realising they can’t get out and shouting at the windows and waving their phones and screaming. At one point we were standing on the lane and we saw two people come flying out of the window.”
Jacqui has spent the last nine months fighting to get justice for the Grenfell Community and now heads up the Lancaster West Residents Association.
She said: “We need to stand up for ourselves and make sure we are not just left to live in these conditions. We have to stand up now.
“It’s our neighbours, it’s our friends, people who we’ve known long enough to be like family. It wasn’t just the tower burning that night it was like we were on fire.”
Antonio Roncolato was one of hundreds of people trapped inside the Tower as the fire raged. He lived on the 10th floor with his son Christopher for almost 30 years.
He survived in his flat for five hours, doing all he could to stay safe as the fire spread around him.
He said: “The moment I opened the door, a lot of smoke came in. Very hot, very strong, very dark. Pitch dark. And I realised, hold on a second, here you’re in big trouble.
“So I closed the door quickly, went to the bathroom and I rinsed my eyes a little bit and then Christopher from downstairs sent me a picture of the tower burning and it was not, like, a small fire, it was like the whole side of the tower was on fire.
“So then I said ‘Okay, you have to make sure that you now do the right thing because if you do something wrong you might not be able to get out alive from here’.”
“I made all my towels, bed towels, bath towels, bed linen, everything wet, and I tried to put it against the windows or on the windows themselves to try and contain the smoke from coming in. Smoke did come in and started filling up the living room and kitchen.”
Antonio was one of the last people to leave the building alive. He was finally rescued at 6.30 in the morning.
“I was leaning my elbow onto the handrail because I could not see anything. Don’t forget, I was totally blind because of the towel that I had on me.
“So, basically, we went down very quickly, synchronised, and as we reached the lower part of the tower then I could hear voices and, in no time, we were downstairs.”
Antonio and Christopher have now moved out of a hotel and into temporary accommodation and are trying to get their lives back to some sort of normality.
But like all those affected by the fire, they say their most pressing concern is getting the answers they need.
The team at Forensic Architecture are hoping their digital model might provide some.
From – SkyNews