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tv   Nightline  ABC  July 15, 2017 12:37am-1:07am PDT

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tonight a special edition of "nightline." surviving the inferno. britain's deadliest fire in more than a century. >> never seen a fire like this. never seen people die like this. >> reduced to ashes, killing at least 80 people. >> you're in it. >> the flames and spoke was very, very intense. >> now one month after the deadly blaze, disturbing questions remain. >> it was a death trap. >> how did a fire sparked by a refrigerator consume a building so quickly. >> it went from the fourth floor to the 18th floor in eight minutes. >> could the build's exterior be to blame? investigators are warning of similar dangers across the u.k. forcing the evacuations of
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thousands of residents. this special edition of "nightline surviving the inf inferno" will be right back.
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this is a special edition of "nightline, surviving the inferno". >> thanks for joining us. it been one month since the deadliest fire in britain
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history and questions loom as ominously as the charred tower standing over london. how a refrigerator fire managed to engulfed 24-story grenfell tower in 80 minutes and taking the lives of people left a community in disbelief and outrage. eyewitness accounts from survivors that take us inside the horrifying inferno. here is james longman. >> woken up by the noise from outside. fire. fir fire. >> people shouting help, i'm on the 14th floor. [crying] >> please. >> red flames and the smoke was very, very intense. >> i've never seen a fire like this. people die like this. >> it felt like an action/horror
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movie. but you're in it. >> it's been a month since the fire at grenfell tower lit the skies over london. >> this wasn't meant to happen. doesn't deserve it. >> at least 80 lives stolen in the darkness, 120 homes destroyed. families ripped apart. now, the public housing tower once home to about 600 residents stands a dark shadow over this city, a looming reminder of the heartbreak and harrow wisdom from that night. right before 1:00 a.m. the calls came in. the cause a faulty fridge on the fourth floor. >> they attended this within six minutes. >> this pyfire was different. >> you don't get fires spread that quickly. this went from the fourth floor to the 18th floor in eight
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minutes. >> 20 after 1:00, 11th floor resident got a could telling her to get out. >> we woke up the children. my son wanted to put his shoes on. i said we haven't got time. just get out. when i opened the door, big black smoke. i started to panic. >> three floors alive, he woke up in his unit where he lived with his girlfriend and daughter. >> getting things together like blankets. went around every room in the house screaming fire, fire, help, please, please, i got a child here, help, please. >> down stairs onlookers watched in horror. >> it was armageddon. people running around. lots of people just standing and staring and watching the horror unfold in front of their eyes. >> the screams that i heard, they were screams of desperation, screams when you
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have nothing else to do, those were the screams. >> the firemen came in and said go to the safest spot. bring some of your they boneigh into your house. i can remember one of them sitting on the bed. the little boy that died, on top of the bed and my daughter on the same bed with him. >> fire brigade guy opened the far door exit to go through the stairs and he just telling people to get out. so literally going, rushing down the stairs just reciting koran to calm me down a bit. it's only when it get to the bottom of the floor i saw how serious it was, the fire and how quick it was spreading. >> my husband said just don't look. you can't. it was memorizing and there was nothing we could do. >> we knew it was killing people. you could see people on the top floor with flashlights, torches,
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towels and voices. >> for pierce and tonya thompson, their bedroom window was a front row seat in the deadly hours. >> particularly on this side here, the west side, i remember someone up there probably the second floor down. >> right up there. the second floor down. >> yeah, that's where we really seen the people. this girl shouting up at the building. get out! get out! i mean, sort of a few times. >> still inside, he readied his makeshift rope from bed sheets. >> i tied it around the window, tied it so hard, as hard as i could and people told me no, what you're doing, don't do it but i wasn't looking to die in there and i told my partner to pass me my daughter. my daughter wasn't having it. she was crying. like what are you doing? so now my daughter isn't coming and now i get back into the flame because i'll not going
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down with my daughter. so now i'm finding it difficult to get back in because i'm dangling from the 14th floor. >> his neighbors pulled him back in saving his life before losing their own. >> i said run, i grabbed my mrs. by hand. my daughter tied to my back already and i didn't look back. i don't know. we just ran. 14th floor, trust me, i gave up on the tenth floor. god took me down stairs. >> what was goi ing through you mind? >> in arabic -- >> catastrophe. >> yes. >> we are on our way to the mosque. it's become a refuge for witnesses and for survivors of that fire. we come upon a funeral.
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witnesses say the victim suffered smoke inhalation and died after making her way out of the tower. so many here touched by tragedy. >> and who is it that your missing? >> one of my brother-in-law, my wife brother. his wife and three children. age 21, 16 and 8. >> when you think about them now, i mean, how does this -- >> it's completely wasted life. they shouldn't disappear just like that. if they were precautions, they would still be alive. >> inside, we meet hassan, he sits with a photograph of his family and daughters 5 and 3. all perished in the fire. >> my daughters -- i'm not going to cry because my dad is coming.
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that's all i can say. she -- >> hassan was away caring for his sick brother in egypt on the phone with his wife as the flames were at their doorstep. >> i told her immediately can you go down? she told me no. the people tell her you have to stay there. i tell her don't worry, just stay inside, close the door and everything will be fine. but there is no help at all. no help. >> okay. >> open the front door. you're going to bring the smoke in. you're not going to be able to breathe. >> maybe someone outside. >> ronya posting this harrowing video on facebook live. >> we're stuck on the 21st
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floor. hello? [speaking foreign language]. >> there are too many people stuck upstairs. >> you put the photo there. can you describe them? were they like, your family? >> what will you remember about them? >> i remember my two every day spoebke to me. we waiting for you and i'm not going to forget anything. this is going to be in my life, in my heart until i die. >> heartbreak engulfedi so many lives.
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how did a fridge fire consume an entire building in minutes? when we come back, the investigation and alarming findings as outrage over the government's response grows. >> it was a death trap. itthe power of nexium 24hr protection from frequent heartburn. all day, and all night. now packed into a pill so small, we call it mini. new clearminis from nexium 24hr. see heartburn differently.
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the energy conscious whopeople among usle? say small actions can add up to something... humongous. a little thing here. a little thing there. starts to feel like a badge maybe millions can wear. who are all these caretakers, advocates too? turns out, it's californians it's me and it's you. don't stop now, it's easy to add to the routine. join energy upgrade california and do your thing. a month after the deadliest fire in modern british history, so much left in the ashes. >> i came out. no slipper, no shoes, no noth g nothing. >> we lost all our memories, all my documents.
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all my family documents. souvenirs, my house, my kitchen, my children's room. >> there are missing posters everywhere but obviously we all know missing means dead. >> and questions left unanswered including the exact number of lives lost, at least 80 dead. that number expected to rise. now out cry over why so many were trapped and if warning signs had been ignored. for years the community organization grenfell action group had been sounding alarms about safety in the tower claiming dangerous living conditions and concerns about a serious fire. >> we complained about the house not safe. i'm in construction myself. i know when something isn't safe. that was a death trap. >> the anger boiling over against the grenfell tower management. >> this is why i'm calling for your resignation. >> in the aftermath, london
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police zeroing in on the various components of the facade. >> we're examining with experts the insulation, how the tiles were fixed to the biddiuilding how it was installed. >> outside scotland yard, how the interior cladding could be to blame for how quickly the fire spread. >> talking about cladding and that does seem to be the case because this building was covered in cladding, if that is the cause, that does seem to be the cause and in essence it was covered in a blanket . >> it was the non-fire version of the panel, the foam insulation between the aluminum panels could support the spread of fire. >> brian is a professor i fire protection engineering. >> what we have is aluminum on each side and in between we have an insulating material, which is a combustible material.
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>> the company that made the cladding writing in a brochure for the tower said as soon as the bidding is higher than the firefighters' ladders, it has to be conceived with an incombustible material. telling us they provide general parameters for it but not responsible for an installer compiling with local regulations, adding their product was one of many used on the tower. this contractors and subcontractors under the police microscope. >> we're over 60 companies we're looking into. building companies and that number is growing. >> we wanted to reach out to main players to find answers where the break down may have occurred. >> i want to call the tenant
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management organization. these people are basically responsible for the building, commissioned refurbishment. the organization telling us they continue to cooperate fully with the investigation, but have put all requests for information on hold. we are able to reach a press officer for the company that installed the cladding who told me they followed all the rules saying fire safety regulations were checked at all stages of the build and signed off as being compliant. >> it had only a single mean of escape. it had no automatic fire sprinkle sprinklers. >> the staircase, only one. >> you would expect a building of this size to have two fire exits and again, as awe're doin >> london police considering criminal prosecution. >> we are looking at every criminal offense from
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manslaughter on wards. >> arconic now faces a class-action lawsuit by it's share holders alleging it failed to disclose it knowingly supplied the flammable cladding panels among other charges. meanwhile, thousands of residents have been evacuated across the country as authorities question the safety of buildings with similar facades. at least 190 buildings failed safety but amidst the tragedy, outpouring of support. >> here you've been putting everything you receive. >> that's right. the first couple days we view this as a sleeping area but then once we -- >> so people from the tower who needed a place to sleep -- >> yeah. >> suitcase. >> absolutely. anything that is is needed. >> what's it been like for you on a personal level you've seen
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members of your community suffer? >> yesterday we had the end of f celebration and colleagues and friends and members do not have families anymore. it was -- it was -- sorry. i don't like this but -- >> that's okay. it's a difficult time. i can see it's about family. >> exactly. >> down the road. >> within about six, seven hours we've received in excess of 60 tons of donations. >> 60 tons. >> 60 tons of donations. >> they show me this massive space that's become a donation center. >> all this is bedding. all of this. duvets, throws, towels. >> my god. >> you name it. >> clothes, food, water and toiletries. imagine if you come out of the fire last wednesday and this is
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all you have. we made family packs. >> so just a very, very simple. we had cereal, toothbrush, tooth paste. >> you hear in tragedy the best of people come out. >> i couldn't agree more. >> when we drop off the pack cak -- package, to say they are grateful is an understatement. it will trigger tears. all there getting checkoked up ourselves. >> the tower stands a black reminder of a night that will never be erased. >> i regret in the taking that little boy. it still kind of eats me up. >> the faces of grenfell that will never be forgotten. >> heart broken and will never heal. >> we can't have the burning matters of grenfell die for nothing. this has to mean something and now is the moment to change.
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>> for "nightline" i'm james longman in london, england. our heart felt thanks to james and the team in london. you'll find more in depth reporting on the digital documentary "surviving the infer inferno, escaping grenfell tower" on abc news.com. this special edition of "nightline" is brought to you by geico. so, your new prescription does have a few side effects. oh, like what? ♪ you're gonna have dizziness, ♪ nausea, and sweaty eyelids. ♪ and in certain cases chronic flatulence. ♪ no. ♪ sooooo gassy girl. ♪ so gassy. if you're boyz ii men, you make anything sound good. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. next! ♪ next! ♪
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thanks for joining us for this special edition of "nightline surviving the infe o inferno." our thoughts are with those
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