Wednesday, 14 April 2021

London fire: Determined teen refuses to let deadly inferno keep her from GCSE exam

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A teenager who lost everything in the devastating Grenfell Tower fire still turned up to her GCSE exam in the morning in just her night clothes. 

LONDON: A teen left homeless after fire ravaged her Grenfell Tower home has defied disaster by attending a school chemistry exam the following morning, still wearing the clothes she escaped the fire in.

High school student Ines Alves and her family were forced to flee their 13th floor home after fire tore through the North Kensington building before 1am local time on Wednesday.

The 16-year-old was only able to escape with a phone, wallet, keys and some revision notes for her upcoming General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) chemistry exam, which determine which qualifications students may subsequently take.

After a sleepless night, Ines decided she would not let circumstances dissuade her from attending and travelled 2.9km to Sacred Heart School in Hammersmith to sit her exam.

Ines said that at the time her future prospects were foremost in her mind.

“I was trying to revise while we waited downstairs (from Grenfell Tower) as we thought it was a small fire at first, but it was impossible,” Ines said.

“I want to do A-level chemistry and I need an A in science so I was thinking of my future when I decided to sit the exam.”

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Ines’ brother Tiago – a university student at Kings College in London – said he told his sister attendance was not obligatory given the extenuating circumstances.

“But she had studied so hard for (the exam) she was determined she was going to take it,” Tiago told media.

“Her school had even contacted the exam board and told her she didn’t have to come in, but she wants to study chemistry at A-level.”

After the exam, Ines re-joined her family and assisted Tiago, father Miguel and mother Fatima with helping out at various community centres assisting those affected by the fire.

At least 17 people have now been confirmed dead in the enormous blaze, with firefighters anticipating it will take weeks or even months to fully search the building and identify the victims.

Police said there were still 37 people in hospital on Thursday morning, with 17 in critical care.

An investigation into the cause of the blaze is underway and British Prime Minister Theresa May has promised a public inquiry into the blaze.

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