The first victim to be identified in the London high-rise apartment block fire was a Syrian refugee who fled the war in his own country to pursue a better career and to lead a better life in London.
Mohammed Alhaj Ali was a first year engineering student at the University of West London, the institution told NBC News.
Ali was a resident on the fourteenth floor of the Grenfell Tower in north-west London, according to the Syria Solidarity Campaign, a U.K. activist group.
He fled to the U.K. in 2014. The Syria Solidarity Campaign said he was looking forward to returning to Syria and working on reconstructing it.
“Mohammed undertook a dangerous journey to flee war and death in Syria, only to meet it here in the UK, in his own home.” said the group in a statement on Facebook.
“Mohammed came to this country for safety and the U.K. failed to protect him.” it added.
He and his brother Omar were purportedly separated when both ran off the burning tower block, the organisation said in the post.
Firefighters managed to rescue; however, Ali returned to his room where he was believed to have contacted a friend in Syria for two hours while he was waiting for the firefighters and rescue team, the organization said.
Omar was taken to a hospital where he was reportedly in a stable condition, according to the group.
The University of West London confirmed that many of their students live in or near to Grenfell Tower, some of whom have already been pronounced safe.
They said that they were “shocked and saddened” to learn of Ali’s death.
The tower block was in flames early Wednesday in what London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton described as an “unprecedented incident.”
Authorities said Thursday that the death toll rise to 17 people. However, it is expected to rise more.