Natasha Elcock was trapped on the 11th floor of the Grenfell Tower as the floors above her and below her were engulfed in flames. Her 6-year-old daughter and boyfriend were trapped in the apartment with her, a place she called home for more than 20 years.
She was fully aware of the “stay-put” policy, which is the “official guidance” they followed, Natasha said. The trio did just that — stay put, according to NBC News. That policy is used for a fire in high-rise buildings, as the structures are designed to contain a fire on the floor where it started without spreading to the other floors.
By staying put and waiting for the fire department to come to you, the risk of passing through the floor that is on fire while making your way out of the building is taken out of the equation. This “official guidance” also keeps the residents of an apartment building out of the stairwells so they’re not overcome by smoke and don’t get in the way of the fire department.
The 39-year-old mother said that she made over 100 calls for help and was first told to stay in place, like the policy states. However, 90 minutes into the fire, the phone rang and the family was told by the fire department to flee the building, but by then it was too late. The door was hot and buckling, said Natasha, and the windows were bubbling and starting to crack.
There was no getting out on their own; they needed the fire department to rescue them. She kept the apartment damp by flooding the bathroom floor, and she believes that is what saved their lives. This mom was in survival mode, and she put the facets on high and let the water run and overflow onto the floor, according to the Daily Mail.
She told reporters, “[W]e had our little girl on the wet floor and we went to the coldest room.”
It was about 3 a.m. when the firefighters got to Natasha and her family, according to NBC News. The firefighters led them safely down and out of the building, and from there, they were taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. The frightening experience is over, but this survivor believes that flooding the bathroom and keeping the apartment damp was the key to keeping them safe.
The death toll for the Grenfell Tower fire is at 30 on Friday afternoon, but authorities expect this number to rise, quite possibly into triple digits. There are so many people still unaccounted for in the aftermath of the inferno.
[Featured Image by Matt Dunham/AP Images]