Last calls of tower blaze victims

Six people died in a fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell, south London, in 2009

Six people died in a fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell, south London, in 2009

First published in National News © by

Two men who lost their entire families in a devastating tower block fire were among bereaved relatives who have given evidence to a "super inquest" into the deaths of six people.

Rafael Cervi and Mbet Udoaka were both working when the fatal blaze broke out at Lakanal House, Camberwell, south east London on July 3, 2009, but managed to speak to their wives on the phone as smoke filled the flat where they were sheltering.

It also emerged that another victim of the fire, designer Catherine Hickman, had asked why there were no diagrams to show where fire exits were in the block.

Jurors at Lambeth Town Hall heard that Mr Cervi's wife Dayana Francisquini, 26, his step-daughter Thais, six, and his son Felipe, three, all died in the tragedy.

Dayana's father Fernando Francisquini could see his daughter through the window moving curtains and a mattress as she was trapped in the flat, the inquest was told.

Mr Cervi told the jury: "I lost my entire family, my wife and a couple of kids that I had. Everything that I built, everything that I dreamed of was over in three hours."

On the day of the blaze, he rang his wife 10 times, trying to reassure her. He also called 999, and alerted her father who lived within walking distance of the flat.

Mr Francisquini said they pleaded with firefighters to rescue the family.

"Rafael and I were begging them to go and help them as the fire was in the flat next to hers," he said.

Miss Hickman, 31, also died in the blaze, along with Helen Udoaka, 34, and her three-week-old daughter Michelle.


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