Gloria Trevisan’s family recounts her heartbreaking final conversation from burning Grenfell Tower.
When a couple of young Italian architects, Gloria Trevisan and Marco Gottardi, moved to London, they decided to rent a flat at the top of a high rise building to appreciate the stunning views of the capital city. Sadly this would prove fatal. As their 24-story apartment block, Grenfell Tower, went up in flames last week, the 27-year-olds were trapped on the 23rd floor.
Trevisan’s first thought was to call her mother. It was about 1 a.m. in the morning. At first she believed the firefighters would be able to come to the rescue — confident that they would have extinguished the fire that started on the fourth floor before it endangered them. By 2 a.m., the phone calls, which her mother had started recording, became more panicked. Although Gottardi tried to reassure both Trevisan and her mom, the couple were becoming more and more anxious.
Her mom, back home in Italy, turned on the television to see images of the tower block on fire. She must have been desperate because if you’ve seen any pictures of this inferno you will understand that the flames had quickly engulfed the building and were rising higher and higher. So when Trevisan spoke to her mom at 3 a.m. and said: “We can’t get out, we’re blocked,” it’s impossible to imagine the fear both mother and daughter must have been feeling.
It is reported in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that the last call Trevisan made to her mom was at 4.07 a.m. While smoke filled their home, Trevisan spoke her last truly heartbreaking words to her mom. They were words of pure love and appreciation: “I am so sorry I can never hug you again. I had my whole life ahead of me. It’s not fair. I don’t want to die. I wanted to help you, to thank you for all you did for me. I am about to go to heaven, I will help you from there.”
Tragically the couple are just two of the 79 presumed dead that have been officially identified by the police. Their deaths are obviously devastating but we can’t help but appreciate the fact that Trevisan didn’t blame anyone, just that she wouldn’t be there for her parents in the future. The love between mother-daughter was so strong that Trevisan wanted to assure her mom that she would still be there for her. While her mom must be distraught when she listens to the recordings, she can only take comfort in the fact that her daughter died with love in her heart.
Although the cause of the fire is still unknown and will take some time to be investigated, there have been reports that the blaze was started by a faulty fridge on the 4th floor. Ordinarily a fire like that would be contained but investigators believe that the cladding around the recently refurbished building (a material that is banned in the US) enabled the fire to spread externally at a very rapid pace. The firefighters were not even able to go beyond the 14th floor to rescue people as the flames were too severe. This left residents struggling to escape, with some resorting to throwing their children out of windows — miraculously a baby that was thrown from a 9th or 10th floor window was caught by someone in the gathered crowds.
While the fire has devastated the lives of so many, as usual there have been some very genuine acts of kindness. Within hours Londoners were emptying their closets and taking all their clothes to donation centers, people offered their homes to shelter those affected, restaurants opened their doors to feed the victims, people of all religions offered their prayers, and communities rallied together to offer support to those awaiting news of their loved ones. Tragically, although the police have said that 79 are presumed dead, that figure is set to grow when firefighters are able to search the building properly.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families.
By Cerith Gardiner