Grenfell Tower resident whose apartment started the fire a year ago said today that he was ‘absolutely blameless’ and has been subjected to “sleazy accusations”, his lawyer told a public inquiry today.
Behailu Kebede, who lived in apartment 16 on the fourth floor of the Grenfell Tower, said that he had been made to suffer “stress, trauma and guilt” after being wrongly held responsible by some for the deaths.
Kebede’s lawyer called for the inquiry to clear him of any responsibility for the blaze.
“Mr Kebede hopes that having heard all the evidence, the inquiry will make a clear and unequivocal statement that Mr Kebede was absolutely blameless for the outbreak of the fire, its spread and its fatal consequences,” lawyer Rajiv Menon said, adding: “If the inquiry does not explicitly exonerate Mr Kebede all the sleazy accusations and hurtful innuendo, all the racist assumptions and ignorance about Mr Kebede that currently prevail will continue unabated.”
Menon said that shortly before 1 am on June 14, Kebede was woken by his smoke alarm. He opened his kitchen door to see smoke coming from behind his Hotpoint fridge freezer, which he had bought five years earlier. He then called the emergency services before alerting his neighbours by banging on their doors and shouting “fire”.
Menon also said Kebede had left without any clothes or possessions and that claims he had packed a suitcase before raising the alarm were a nasty lie.
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