Tony Disson, 65, has lived in Greenfell for 9 years and was trapped in the bathroom of his 22nd floor as fire engulfed the entire building early on Wednesday morning.
The father-of-four, seeing no means of escape, made a final phone call to a friend and told him to “Tell my sons that I love them.”Prior to that final call, he had made a number of other desperate calls to friends and relatives to let them know that he was trapped in the bathroom.
Tony’s oldest son Lee, 47, who is disabled, heard of the tragedy at 6 a.m. when a cousin from Blackburn, Lancashire, called and told him to turn on the TV as his father’s tower block was on fire. After seeing the horrific images on TV, he drove down to London with daughter Sky, 26, from his home in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.
Disson’s four sons and other family members spent all of yesterday searching hospitals and rescue centres for him but have so far found no sign of him.
“People called my Dad and said, ‘Put a blanket over your head and get out.’ He said he couldn’t as he was in the bathroom and the floor was too hot. A friend then called him at 4 a.m. and one of the last things he said was, ‘Tell my sons that I love them’. Nobody was able to contact him after that.”
Lee said he believed that one of his half-brothers had spoken to his father on the phone at around 3 a.m. Father-of-three Lee, who had not seen his father for several years, said he still has not given up hope of finding his father.
He said: “I have found out that he did not make it, but I have not completely given up hope. I have left my details at the rugby club which is being used as an emergency centre and I have been asking around for him. My dad was well known down here and I have had loads of calls. He had been in the flat for about nine years. He lived alone and was quite happy there.”
Tony had son Lee from his first marriage and three sons Harry, 23, Alfie, 21, and Charlie, 19, with second wife Cordelia. He also had five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren with another due to be born soon. Tony’s first wife Anita Rawlinson who lives in Peterborough, said his flat was on the side of the block where the fire had started as he couldn’t make it out.
Anita said: “I think his flat was on the side of the block where the fire was.”
Lee’s wife Sandra, 47, said: “Tony had been moaning about the damp in his flat. The block was old and did not have balconies. I think they should have knocked it down as it was in such a state and re-housed everyone elsewhere. But it looks like they did a cosmetic job on it by tarting it up with cladding to make it look nicer.