NEWS
21/06/2018 17:48 BST | Updated 21/06/2018 17:57 BST

Twelve-Year-Old Grenfell Victim Was On 999 Call For 55 Minutes Before She Died

Inquiry told of final movements of Jessica Urbano Ramirez, who was alone as fire took hold.

Stefan Wermuth / Reuters
Grenfell victim, 12, stayed on 999 call for 55 minutes, new report reveals.

A 12-year-old victim of the Grenfell Tower fire spent nearly an hour on the phone to the emergency services before she died, an inquiry into the disaster heard.

Jessica Urbano Ramirez was alone in her family’s flat on the 20th floor when the blaze took hold of the 24-storey tower, but she left to seek shelter three floors up in flat 201. Her remains were discovered there days after the tragedy.

In a report detailing the London Fire Brigade’s (LFB) response to the incident on June 14, released to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry on Thursday, it emerged Jessica placed the 30th call to the emergency services that night and talked to 999 call handlers for 55 minutes.

The report said: “01:30:08 - This is the 30th call. After taking the call from the British Telecom operator (call received at 01:29:48), (call room operator) Russell calls the mobile number.

“CRO Russell establishes that the caller is a young girl whose name is Jessica. She is on the 23rd floor in flat 201. Incident Number 76096b, Call duration 55 minutes.”

The report also states that Jessica’s sister stopped firefighter David Badillo outside the tower and handed him the keys to flat 176 on the 20th floor.

“In his statement Firefighter Badillo states Ms Urbano tells him that her sister Jessica is still in their flat on the 20th floor and he tells her he will go and get her.”

The report continues: “01:28 - At around this time Firefighter Badillo is travelling in the lift to the 20th floor.

“He states that the lift stops at the 15th floor, where the doors open and the lift car fills full of black smoke. He is not wearing (breathing apparatus).

“Firefighter Badillo manages to find his way through the lift lobby door and into the stairwell. He then descends the stairs.”

Meanwhile Deborah Lamprell, who was in flat 201 with Jessica at the time the 12-year-old called 999, was also on the phone to the emergency services and spoke to the operator for more than 40 minutes.

The pair were among 11 people to have sought refuge in 63-year-old Raymond Bernard’s flat.  The grandfather died at the scene.

On Thursday the inquiry also heard from Behailu Kebede who lived in the flat where the first originated.

In a statement read to the inquiry, Kebede said he wished he had “burned in the tower with the others” following the attention he received and the loss he faced in the wake of the deadly blaze.

The 45-year-old was offered police protection after he was vilified by parts of the press in the aftermath of the tragedy, the inquiry heard earlier this month.

New details emerged on Thursday about the LFB’s response to the blaze in a report titled Operational Response to Grenfell Tower, which covered the period between 12.50am and 2am on June 14.

A firefighter spotted that a blaze on the fourth floor of Grenfell Tower was spreading on to the external facade but was initially advised not to spray it with water by his colleague.

At an approximate time of 1.06am, the report said: “(Watch Manager) Dowden notes from his position at ground-floor level that the fire has breached the window of flat 16 and he wants to put a covering jet onto it.

“(Crew Manager) Secrett advises him not to at this point due to the risk to BA Team One who are about to enter the flat.”

Within minutes the blaze had latched on to the flammable cladding strapped to the outside of the building and shot upwards.

The inquiry was told on Monday that the original external wall of Grenfell Tower was “entirely non-combustible” prior to its refurbishment, which was completed in 2016.

Footage was also played to the inquiry earlier this week of the moment firefighters entered flat 16 on the fourth floor of the tower, where the blaze originated.

Thermal imaging camera footage was played on Tuesday and the hearing was told of firefighters encountering “black smoke” when they broke down the door of the flat shortly after 1am.