His crew struggled to cut through thick black smoke.
Doorknobs too hot to handle.
Going in above the fire
to knock on doors, get people out.
Exceeding the ten minutes of safety
on their breathing apparatus
Putting their own mask on casualties.
Carrying a casualty alone, sometimes
more than one at a time
You can’t see colour in smoke.
After watching the footage,
played back from a mobile phone,
the fire spitting and sparking,
he repeated again
he was ‘outside his comfort zone’,
wiped his eyes with a handkerchief.
Offered a five minute break.
The officer said ‘ten please’.
© Judith Wozniak
Grenfell Inquiry dramatically halted after firefighter Michael Dowden breaks down over mobile phone footage
Judith Wozniak is a retired GP living in Hampshire. She is currently a student at the Poetry School in London.