A HERO dad got his pregnant wife and youngest daughter down the tower block’s smoke-filled stairs — then went back up into the choking blackness for his older girl.
The fumes were so thick in the pitch-dark stairwell that Marcio Gomes, 38, was unaware 12-year-old Luana had collapsed halfway down.
Marcio Gomes led his family to safetySun News
Only her little sister Megan, ten, was with him and wife Andreia, 37, when the family made it to the lower levels of the blazing 24-storey tower block.
They had stumbled over bodies as they desperately battled their way almost from the top.
Distraught Marcio, a teaching inspector for Ofsted, immediately headed back into the fume-filled hell to save her.
He said as he was last night hailed a hero: “I saw we had lost my daughter.
“So I didn’t leave the block. I went back up to try and get her.
“We got separated from our daughter because we couldn’t see anything.
“She was halfway down. She had stopped. She couldn’t move any more and had fallen unconscious.”
The desperate dad shouted for help from firemen, who had yet to make it that far up the stairs.
Crews were so disorientated they had no idea where they were in the building.
Marcio said: “I had to tell them exactly where they were. They went up and carried her down.”
Luana survived by a miracle.
Last night the entire family was in hospital being treated for smoke-inhalation.
Mum Andreia, who is seven months pregnant, was put into a medically-induced coma to help her and the unborn child recover.
What we know so far:
- The Metropolitan Police have confirmed 12 people are dead but the death toll is expected to rise after a huge fire engulfed Grenfell Tower in West London just before 1am on Wednesday night
- The 24-storey high tower block has 120 apartments
- Around 74 people have been taken to six hospitals in the capital, with 18 in a critical condition, while dozens of others are missing and feared dead
- The Prime Minister launched an urgent investigation into the disaster
- Authorities say the cause of the fire is still not known — with some suggesting it was sparked by a fridge fire
- Experts warned the blaze was spread by cladding panels which are fitted to countless buildings across Britain
- Residents were seen jumping from upper floors in scenes reminiscent of September 11
- Horrified witnesses told of babies being thrown from windows by desperate mothers
- It was revealed the block had only recently undergone a £10million refurb but still had no sprinkler system installed
- Designers insisted the refurbishment work complied with building regulations
- Residents raised safety concerns four years ago, but were ignored
- A former housing minister was blasted for postponing a government review into tower block safety
- Celebrities and ordinary Londoners have united to provide food, clothes, money and shelter for survivors
Her husband told of how they had to feel their way down the stairs. They realised they were stumbling over bodies.
The family, whose flat was on the 21st floor, had not suspected anything was wrong until 2.30am — an hour after the blaze began.
Marcio heard what he described as a “commotion”.
Two of them sought sanctuary at his flat because it seemed to be further away from the blaze.
The dad phoned the fire brigade.
The emergency operator explained that fire crews were unable to make it up to the 21st floor.
Marcio said: “We were told it was being contained. I phoned them at various times and said my wife was pregnant and that we couldn’t go down — there was too much smoke.
“But they wouldn’t send anyone up. By 4.30am the flames had roared up the side of the block. Fire engulfed the whole building.”
When he saw the blaze reaching his windows he realised he had to act to save his family.
He went on: “There was too much smoke. You couldn’t see anything.
“We didn’t see people, we just felt people. We were just climbing over bodies.”
Marcio had taken the precaution of phoning the fire brigade yet again on his mobile as the family left their flat.
He remained on the line to the operator all the way down.
The dad recalled: “She said, ‘Stay on the phone’. So I did as we went down the stairs.”
The family’s relief when they made it to safety was shattered when they realised Luana was no longer with them.
Marcio, who was barely able to speak in hospital because his throat was so damaged by fumes, said thankfully: “She got out.”
Friends of the hero and his family rushed to set up a GoFundMe page for them.
Last night donations had topped £13,000.
A message read: “Our friends Andreia and Marcio have suffered a devastating event, with their home being destroyed by fire.
“Luckily our hero Marcio managed to get them all out. They have lost everything.
“We can all help in a small way to rebuild their lives.”
Pal Lauren Rees declared bluntly: “Marcio is a hero.”
The dad admitted in hospital that it was “mayhem” as he, his family and neighbours battled their way through the smoke.
Marcio said: “When we were going down the stairs and I was on the phone to the fire brigade they said, ‘Keep going down, keep using your voice’.”
He said he never heard any alarms.
Asked about fire safety in the block, he raged: “It was a shambles.”
- TO donate to the family’s GoFundMe page visit www.gofundme.com/marcio-gomes-and-andreia-perestrelo