The Salvation Army is serving following a horrific fire that broke out at Grenfell Towers in West London. Volunteers came together from across London to support the city’s emergency services, as well as residents, friends and family directly impacted by the tragedy.
Two of The Salvation Army’s London-based emergency response vehicles arrived at the scene at 3 am on Wednesday 14 June after a request from the London fire service. They provided support for well over 500 members of emergency service crews, including firefighters, police officers and the ambulance service as they work tirelessly to respond to the deadly blaze.
Captain Ruth Gray was coordinating the Army’s emergency response with her husband. Speaking in the hours following the fire, she said, ‘It is horrendous. I have never seen anything this tragic. People are really glad to have someone be kind and offer them a cup of tea, someone who is just prepared to listen to them.”
As part of the coordinated local authority response, The Salvation Army’s corps (church) in Notting Hill was opened as one of a number of a family rest centre for members of the public concerned about family and friends.
Major Paul Scott, who is stationed at Notting Hill said, ‘The community spirit is wonderful. Right from when it happened it was amazing to see the community springing into action. We are now one of four reception centres—specifically open for families in need offering teas, coffees and snacks. We have been inundated with people bringing us donations for those who have been affected by this dreadful tragedy.’
Ruth asks that people keep those affected by this incident in their prayers. ‘People have witnessed things they would rather have never seen,’ she said. ‘Pray for the people who will provide long-term support. People have been made homeless, their homes have gone—and how people deal with that, I don't know. We pray that people find hope in a really horrendous situation. We pray for those who have lost loved ones. And we pray for the emergency services who continue to work so tirelessly.’
The Salvation Army runs a number of emergency response teams across the UK that offer support to emergency services with onsite refreshment and emotional support, and by directing individuals affected by incidents to care or rest centres.