Despite the fire that destroyed her home and took the lives of at least 17 of her neighbors, 16-year-old Ines Alves rushed to school the morning after the blaze, equipped with only her chemistry notes and her cellphone, ready to take an important exam. She went to school wearing the same clothes she was wearing when the fire swept through her home.
“I was trying to revise [study] while we waited downstairs as we thought it was a small fire at first,” Alves told U.K. paper the Mirror. What they thought was a small blaze, of course, was far from it. People are now hailing Alves as a hero — especially praising her commitment to her schoolwork and her studies.
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The blaze broke out in London at the Grenfell Tower block, a 24-story building early Wednesday morning. Entire families are still missing and police said the death toll is certain to rise.
Alves lived on the 13th floor with her parents and older brother Tiago. Her brother told the Mirror, “We realized about 3 am that our flat had been destroyed and despite being at a friend’s house, my sister couldn’t sleep, so she studied for the exam instead.”
The brave teen was determined to take the test despite the extenuating circumstances. She showed up to school even though officials had said it was OK for her to take the exam at another time.
“Considering what had happened I think the exam went OK. I want to do A-level chemistry and I need an A in science so I was thinking of my future when I decided to sit the exam,’ Alves told the Mirror.
After the exam, Alves joined the rest of her family and began to help others who, like her, had lost everything in the fire.
“I just wanted to do all I could to help and I wanted to see my friends, who were also helping. They’ve been incredibly supportive,” Alves said.
Alves’s father, Miguel, told the Guardian that residents often complained about the safety of their homes. “Many times we make a lot of points, and nobody cares; they ignore us,” he said.
London Fire Brigade has yet to find the cause of the blaze.
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