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Muslims awake for Ramadan “helped save lives” in Grenfell Tower fire

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Tom Victor
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The UK is still coming to terms with the tragic Grenfell Tower fire, an avoidable tragedy in which 12 people have so far been confirmed dead.

The fire ripped through the 24-story residential building, and the official death toll is expected to rise today, Muslims living in the building observing Ramadan may have helped ensure other residents were able to escape and that even more lives were not lost.

Witnesses had reported that no fire alarms went off during the blaze, which has also left dozens receiving treatment in hospital and hundreds homeless.

But those observing Ramadan, who might otherwise have been asleep, were able to rouse sleeping residents and help them escape the burning building, potentially saving lives.

Grenfell Tower, where at least 12 people have been confirmed dead

“I would be up this late on a Friday night possibly but never a random midweek night unless it was Ramadan,” Grenfell Tower resident Khalid Suleman Ahmed told HuffPost UK.

“No fire alarms went off and there were no warning. I was playing PlayStation waiting to eat suhuur (beginning of fast meal) then smelt smoke. I got up and looked out of my window and saw the seventh floor smoking.

“I woke my auntie up, then got clothes on and started knocking on neighbours’ doors. Every house opened except two - I saw the other guy later on so only 1 family unaccounted for. My next door neighbour was fast asleep.

“There are a lot of Muslims living there and people choose up to stay up and wait so it was certainly a factor for me and others. It probably did save lives.”

Those observing Ramadan this summer have been fasting from the early hours, with some taking part in the Suhur (the meal before the fast) in the early hours of the morning.

This meant many will have been awake around 1am, when the fire began.

Another local local told HuffPost: “Muslim boys saved people’s lives. They ran around knocking on people’s doors. Thank God for Ramadan.”

Nearby mosques and churches have opened their doors to those seeking shelter after the incident, while crowdfunding efforts have raised more than £500,000 to help those affected.

(Images: Rex)