LONDON • Italians Marco Gottardi, 27, and Gloria Trevisan, 27, are among the scores of people missing and feared dead after a massive fire gutted a high-rise building in London last week, and harrowing details have emerged about the architect couple's final phone calls to their families as flames engulfed Grenfell Tower.
The pair, who were engaged, had been in London for three months and were living on the 23rd floor of the tower. By the time they became aware of the extent of the fire early on Wednesday morning, there was little chance of escape.
Ms Trevisan first called her parents at their home in Padua in the evening to say that she had heard there was a fire on the fourth floor of the building. But she reassured them that it appeared firefighters would be able to extinguish it, reported The Independent. However, she made increasingly more frantic calls at 2am and 3am while the Trevisans were watching the blaze on TV, telling her father "they wanted to go down but said they could see flames going up the stairs and the smoke was more and more intense".
"I am so sorry I can never hug you again," Ms Trevisan said in her final words at 4.07am Italian time, her father Loris told La Repubblica newspaper. "I had my whole life ahead of me. It's not fair. I don't want to die. I wanted to help you, to thank you for all you did for me.
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"I am about to go to heaven. I will help you from there," she said before the line went dead. Despite hundreds of calls to their daughter, her parents were unable to get through.
The family's lawyer, Ms Maria Cristina Sandrin, told CNN that Ms Trevisan had moved to London because her family was having financial difficulties. The family home was repossessed a few months ago and her parents were living with Ms Trevisan's grandparents.
Her father recorded part of the phone call so that her brother, who was not present, could hear her final words. Ms Sandrin said that the family would not release the recording unless a court ordered it for a trial in connection with the fire.
Mr Gottardi was also on the phone with his family at the time, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported. His father, Mr Giannino Gottardi, said he called his son when he heard about the fire, reported The Daily Mirror.
He said: "He played down the incident, I think, to reassure us."
The Telegraph reported that the younger Mr Gottardi had told his father at around 2am UK time: "There's a lot of smoke but don't worry, we're waiting for the rescuers. We opened the front door but there was too much smoke to be able to leave. The lifts are blocked."
The elder Mr Gottardi, according to The Independent, said: "But in the second call - and I can't get this out of my head - he said there was smoke, that so much smoke was rising. We were on the phone until the last moment… At 4.07am he told us their apartment was flooded with smoke and that the situation had become an emergency.
"The communications broke down and from that moment on, we no longer had any contact."