Family Who Survived Grenfell Tower Fire Are Facing Removal From Their Temporary Home

Aasma Day
Mahad Egal and Jamie Murray want to stay in the property with their two young children.

A family who survived the Grenfell Tower fire are now facing being moved out of their temporary home, as the council will no longer pay for it.

Mahad Egal and Jamie Murray want to stay in the property with their two young children but claim they are facing eviction from their emergency accommodation.

Kensington and Chelsea Council say the property is “no longer suitable” and will not renew it and has offered the family alternative temporary housing instead.

The council says it has not threatened anyone with eviction.

The family told their story to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, and the show featured a recording of the family being asked to leave the property by police.

The couple has previously been offered a permanent home, but say they declined it over fears about the use of aluminium, although the council says all its homes for Grenfell survivors are safe.

Egal and Murray and their children aged three and five, escaped from the fourth floor of Grenfell Tower after being caught up in the fire in June 2017 which claimed the lives of 72 people.

They moved into a permanent home last month, but within three weeks returned to their temporary accommodation - where they first started living in August 2017.

Murray told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that the permanent home was connected to a building with aluminium decorative casing around the windows which the family could see through the living room window and it made them feel unsafe following their experiences in the fire.

The council said the material was not flammable and was “one of the safest forms of rain-screening building material available in the industry”.

However, Murray told the BBC show: “We were given similar reassurances when we lived in Grenfell Tower.

“The council are talking about physical safety, but you telling me that I am safe does not make me feel safe.”

Murray added the stress of their present situation had caused her to experience vomit-inducing anxiety and made her flashbacks worse and she revealed that in the last two weeks, she has also suffered a miscarriage.

The family say that moving from one property to another with two children would be “stressful and unnecessary” and Egal is reporting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

They say the next time they move, they want it to be their permanent “forever” home.

The couple claim they are now effectively being evicted from their current temporary accommodation.

In a legal letter seen by the Victoria Derbyshire programme, Kensington and Chelsea Council state that it was “no longer suitable”.

The family now say they fear leaving the home in case they are not allowed back in.

Egal told the BBC that “every day from now on is a potential eviction day” and he feared about the effect on their children.

He added the council has paid the rent for last week and the weekend just gone, but that is it.

Local Labour MP Emma Dent Coad says the council sees some Grenfell survivors as “troublesome” and wanted to “clear the decks” before the second anniversary of the tragedy on June 14.

She said there was “no culture change” at the council, and she could see no justification “at all” for wanting to move the family from their temporary accommodation.

Kensington and Chelsea Council said in a statement: “We have worked with more than 180 households from Grenfell Tower to find them a suitable, permanent home.

“A small number of families find they have trouble settling into their new property and if they wish to move, we will find them suitable temporary housing while they consider what they want for the long term.

“All our homes for Grenfell [survivors] are safe and secure.

“We have not threatened any Grenfell survivor with eviction from their property.”