Day 13 saw evidence from firefighters Daniel Brown and David Badillo, who were among the first firefighers to arrive at the blaze
Day 13 began with evidence from firefighter Daniel Brown of North Kensington fire station, who was one of two officers fighting the fire in flat 16 of Grenfell Tower. He described the “weird” conditions within the flat, unlike anything he had faced in his 27 years as a firefighter, where there was clearly a blaze but he could feel no heat.
He recalled how once he had put out the initial fire around the fridge visibility increased, he saw a “candlelight flame” flickering outside the flat and leaning outside the window to investigate.
He realised the fire had caught hold of the cladding outside and tried to put it out while hanging out of the window, held by colleague Chris Batterbee, but “it was having no effect. The water is just bouncing off.”
“I couldn’t foresee it was going to travel all the way up to the top of the building. I don’t think anyone could foresee that. You’d like to think that there was some sort of fire breaks system where it would reach to a point and stop,” he added.
Next to give evidence was David Badillo, also of North Kensington fire station. He described how he couldn’t contact commanders on the ground from within the tower using radio equipment. He went on to describe the equipment as “useless” and “from the dark ages”. Read the full story here.
Richard Millet QC then questioned Mr Badillo on his witness statement, which gave a detailed account of his efforts to save the life of a 12-year-old girl whose older sister had told him was stranded at the top of the tower.
In the statement, Mr Badillo described how he had cried “every day” in the month after learning of Jessica Urbano Ramirez’s death.
Her “panicked and anxious” sister had given him keys to their flat on floor 20, which Mr Badillo eventually reached with two other firefighters. But by the time they entered the smoke-logged flat, she had fled to the 23rd floor.
He said: “We were shouting out and searching by stamping and sweeping to feel our way round, using our torches. We were sure we had completed a thorough search and that no-one was inside the flat.”
During the inquiry, Mr Badillo told how he had broken procedure trying to save the girl’s life, as he thought the fire was still only at the sixth floor. “I just wanted to go up and get her. It’s a little 12 year old girl on her own,” he said.
Fighting back tears at the end of a long day of questioning, a clearly distressed Mr Badillo said: “Can I just say to the family of the people in flat 175, I was looking for another girl and I didn’t know there was anyone in there.”
In his statement, he wrote: “It has deeply affected me and it is never far from my thoughts.”
The firefighters' evidence
Day 28: 'the building beat us'
Day 12: "it was like a war zone"
The expert reports: authors give evidence to inquiry
Day eight: where the fire started
Day seven: what was in the cladding?
Day six: the cause and spread of the fire
Day five: expert highlights key issues
Day four: firefighters defend response to fire
The commemoration hearings