Europe

'Our hearts had broken': Father weeps for son at Grenfell Tower fire inquiry

0:00

A father has told the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry of his family's pain at losing his son who was stillborn in hospital after his wife escaped the blaze.

The bereaved father has given a heartbreaking tribute to his baby son at the start of public hearings into London's Grenfell Tower fire which killed 71 people last year.

Marcio Gomes was the first of the family and friends of people who died in the blaze to pay tribute to a lost loved one - his baby son Logan who was stillborn in hospital hours after his heavily pregnant wife Andreia escaped from the fire.

Only a charred, gutted ruin remains of Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey social housing block in a deprived pocket of the rich west London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, since it was engulfed by flames in the middle of the night of June 14, 2017.

The Grenfell Tower fire shocked Britain and led to an outpouring of angst over whether poor quality social housing and neglect by the authorities of a deprived, ethnically diverse community had played a part in the tragedy.

Separately from the public inquiry, the police are conducting a criminal investigation which could result in charges against organisations or individuals involved in the construction, maintenance or refurbishment of the tower.

The inquiry faces the daunting task of establishing the root causes of the fire from eye-witness accounts, videos and photos, expert evidence and the paper trail of the tower's history since it was built in 1974.

But first the inquiry wants to give those bereaved by the disaster an opportunity to pay tribute to those they lost by talking about them publicly, or by showing photos or videos if they wish.

Marcio Gomes, who lived with his wife and two daughters on the 21st floor of the tower, went first with a highly emotional tribute to baby Logan.

Sitting alongside his wife Andreia, Gomes talked about the family's happiness about the baby they were expecting and recounted how hard he had worked to prepare a nursery for Logan.

0:00
Father weeps for son at Grenfell Tower fire inquiry
Father weeps for son at Grenfell Tower fire inquiry

He spoke about the family's terrifying escape down the burning tower in the middle of the night and the moment in hospital hours later when he was told the baby had been stillborn.

At that moment, Andreia was in an induced coma being treated for cyanide poisoning and their two daughters were unconscious.

"I held my son in my arms, hoping it was all a bad dream, wishing, praying for a miracle, that he would open his eyes, move, make a sound," Gomes said, weeping as he spoke.

"You never know what you are made of until you're broken. And I can tell you this: my wife, she is made of the hardest material I know and without her strength and courage I would not be here.

"He was so peaceful, so restful. He looked like he was just sleeping, as babies do. At that moment, we felt like our hearts had broken and it had but at least we were able to hold him and to be with him."

Family photographs from before and after the tragedy flashed up on a screen, including an ultrasound scan image of unborn Logan in his mother's womb, and images of him just after his birth, as well as photographs from his funeral.

Other Grenfell relatives and friends, lawyers and journalists in the hearing room wept as they watched and listened. Logan Gomes had been due to be born on August 21, 2017.

"In terms of loss of life, the fire was the single greatest tragedy to befall this city since the end of the Second World War," said the chairman of the inquiry, retired judge Martin Moore-Bick, at the start of Monday's hearing.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch