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'Grenfell Tower wasn't special as a tower, it was made special by those who inhabited it': Survivor Mohammed Rasoul and family speak out 100 days on from the fatal fire

Mohammed Rasoul escaped from the fifth floor along with his father, wife and two young children

On June 14, Mohammed Rasoul and his family managed to escape from the fifth floor of Grenfell Tower .

Before the inferno rose up the building to the 24th floor, the 35-year-old alongside his father 86-year-old Ahmed Abdel-Rasoul, wife 33-year-old Munira Mahmud and their two children, 5-year-old Mohammed Rasoul Junior and 20-month-old Zahra Rasoul, made their way down the stairs to the bottom of the tower to safety.

Speaking out 100 days on , Mohammed and his wife shared their frustrations with getwestlondon in our special report on the fatal fire:

Click to enter our dedicated microsite for the Grenfell Tower fire:

The 35-year-old said: "I had been in Grenfell tower since birth and I had seen many fires in the block, none of them ever spread in such a manner.

"The cladding was the major factor in the spread of the fire and I do not need any investigation or inquiry to prove that to me. Such loss of life was preventable and should never have happened.

86-year-old Ahmed Abdel-Rasoul, wife 33-year-old Munira Mahmud and their two children, 5-year-old Mohammed Rasoul Junior and 20-month-old Zahra Rasoul.(Image: Tim Anderson)

"It’s still the beginning of the journey with regards to the inquiry, the inquests, we’re a bit reserved just because the judge, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the scope of his inquiry was very limited, but he seems to have moved on since then.

"At first he said it would just cover how the fire started, how it spread and how to prevent this in future, but obviously there was uproar after that from the residents and the bereaved families and then we’ve raised our concerns and he seems to have opened up a bit."

He added: "So we’re just a bit reserved, everyone wants justice for the people that passed away, the people that lost their homes and so on.

“We’re still in a hotel. We’ve been offered a place and we’ve accepted, we’re just waiting for the paperwork to come through, but that’s going to take another few weeks for all of that to be arranged."

The family have been living in a hotel since the day of the fire(Image: Tim Anderson)

Answering in response to if their housing acceptance process was easy, Munira Mahmud said: “50-50.

"There’s nothing in this world that’s made easy, you have to fight for everything, but we are still waiting.

Mohammed explained before the fire, many residents raised concerns about the safety of the building, he said: "We all did, the fact that the same people are still running the council, the same decision makers that turned down and turned a blind eye to all the health and safety issues that were highlighted by the Grenfell Action Group and other residents. We protested against it, the refurbishment or issues with it at least.

"The same decision makers who turned away from all of that are still making decisions on our behalf."

Mohammed has said his son has been looking out the window of their hotel room and asks to go back to the tower.(Image: Tim Anderson)

"I thank God we got out early and we made it."

Mohammed admitted he often thinks back to that night, he explained: "I thank God we got out early and we made it.

"From our perspective, as Muslims, in our conviction, we believe that everyone has their time and if it wasn’t our time, it wasn’t our time. But on a worldly level, no-one that died that night should have died, all of that could have been avoided.

"It was my wife’s best friend and my children’s friends who passed away, there was a lady who was my friend’s mother.

"Me and him had been there since birth, we had both been in the tower since birth."

He added: "Grenfell Tower wasn't special as a tower, it was made special by those who inhabited it. ‘Home is where the heart is’ as it is said and it was a home for all of our hearts and I have endless good memories there.

The family say Grenfell Tower was a special place.

"I grew up there and I got married and had my children there. All our closest friends were there too."

He explained there was a sense of community present within the tower: "We all lived together in harmony in a peaceful way. It wasn’t rough.

"Everyone says, you know, ‘oh, it’s the most deprived area in London', but we might, might have been deprived materially, but not morally, not emotionally.

"We pray that we're going to be reunited with them one day."

"My son's speaking about it. He was looking out the window last night (September 20), just looking out, staring out the window and he just said 'dad, I miss the tower. I miss my auntie' the one who passed away and his friends.

"And I said 'you know they are all in a better place now yeah? They're happy' and he says 'yeah' and I said 'we all miss them' and I said 'we pray that we're going to be reunited with them one day.'

"The negative emotions are manifesting themselves and coming up to the surface now."

In response to Mohammed's frustrations, a Kensington and Chelsea Council Spokesman said: " We are doing all we can to get people into permanent homes.

it took Ahmed, Mohammed's father, around 15 minutes to get to the bottom floor.(Image: Tim Anderson)

"We have worked closely with bereaved families first and foremost to find them a permanent home.

"We will only work at the pace that each family feels comfortable with.

"Bereaved families make up some of the 48 households who have accepted an offer and who we are now helping to move into their new homes.

"Working alongside the rehousing process, the council has a comprehensive range of support in place including 24 hour helplines, outreach work in schools and children’s centres and 8000 ‘wellbeing packs’ that have been distributed to the community.

"We would urge anyone who is distressed or who knows of someone in distress, to get in contact with us, we have teams of experienced professionals ready to help them."

To read Mohammed's full story, head to our special report .

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