Grenfell Tower fire: Graduate tells how he carried his disabled mother out of burning building in terrifying ordeal

A graduate has described how he carried his disabled mother from the top floor of Grenfell Tower as they made their terrifying escape from the burning building.

Farhad Neda, 24, told how he arrived home with his mother and father just half an hour before the fire started in the early hours of June 14.

The mechanical engineering graduate said they were told firefighters were on their way up and to stay in their flats and wait to be rescued. 

“But then we saw our neighbours from downstairs running up, looking worried, banging on the doors, telling everyone to get out,” he said.

Escape: Farhad and Flora described their horrific ordeal on Channel 4 news (PA)

“And when we asked them what was going on, they said ‘There’s a fire’, and there’s no way out. So that’s the first we heard,” he told Channel 4 News. 

His mother Flora, 55, told the programme: “35 or 40 people came up and they said the fire brigade told us you have to go up and we send for you helicopter rescue.”

She added: “One of the Iranian ladies (who took refuge in her flat) spoke to her (own) son who said that he wanted to come take her away. She replied that this was not necessary as the helicopter was coming to take them away.”

Grenfell Tower: An estimated 80 people were killed in the fire (Jeremy Selwyn)

Mr Farhad said: “I don’t think anyone was instructed to seek help from the helicopters. There were helicopters up. I’m not sure how many. There was definitely more than one.”

He said that when fire broke the windows of their flat and had come into the bedroom, his mother threatened to jump out of the tower, and told him: “I don’t want to burn. I don’t want to go through the pain of burning alive. I’m going to jump out the window.”

He said: “So I just grabbed my mum, so that she didn’t jump out the window, I pulled her. And I said ‘OK we need to at least try to get out’. We thought we were dead 100 per cent that night. So I said ‘at least let’s try’.

Ordeal: Farhad escaped with his mother but was forced to leave the building without his father (PA)

“And at that point I grabbed my mum, and because there was so much smoke I didn’t let go of her. Because I knew that if I let go I wouldn’t be able to find her again. So I took her and we started feeling our way.

“She suffers from myasthenia gravis, which is a muscular condition. So I knew it would be difficult for her to go down stairs especially. So I was carrying her weight above on my shoulders and we just made our way out. And we literally couldn’t see anything. It was so difficult.”

Flora told Channel 4 News how she tried to persuade her husband Saber, 57, to leave with them, saying: “I called to him so many times to keep away from the window. He was standing and watching the fire.

Grenfell Tower aftermath – In pictures


The top section of the death trap Grenfell Tower

Jeremy Selwyn


The tower today, after the flames were extinguished

Jeremy Selwyn


A close up of the tower’s damaged windows



Fire service personnel survey the damage



The tower today, after it emerged at least 17 were killed

Jeremy Selwyn


Rows of blackened windows after the fire

Jeremy Selwyn


Police sent in sniffer dogs today to search for bodies

Jeremy Selwyn




The Grenfell Tower at dawn today

Jeremy Selwyn


Donations have flooded in for victims

Jeremy Selwyn


Water is sprayed on Grenfell Tower



Rows and rows of blackened windows. It is feared over one hundred people may have perished

Jeremy Selwyn


Part of the scorched facade of the Grenfell Tower in London as firefighting continue to damp-down the deadly fire



Fire crews examine the wreckage


“And then my son took my hand and said ‘Mum you have to leave here’. I called my husband and said ‘let’s go’. He said ‘I’m behind you’.”

Mr Farhad ran down a stairwell through thick smoke, with his mother on his shoulders, and said: “We were stepping over people and she was asking me ‘what are we stepping on?’ and I didn’t want to scare her so I said ‘It’s just the fire brigade’s hoses that we’re stepping on.”‘

Grenfell Tower tragedy ‘must be a turning point for fire safety laws’

The pair were then helped by firefighters, and were put into an induced coma in hospital. 

Mr Farhad said he believes his father, who jumped from the building, stayed behind to help other neighbours.

He told Channel 4 News: “I think he was trying to help the other neighbours who had come into our flat – the four ladies – to help them get out as well.

“He was always the type of person who would try to help other people before himself. I know that he wouldn’t have left anyone in there.”

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