Kind-hearted students fundraising for 'much-loved' Armenian lecturer who escaped Grenfell Tower fire  

12:37 • 19.06.17

Kind-hearted students have started a fundraising page for a Croydon lecturer who lived in the Grenfell Tower and lost of all his possessions in the fire, including research for his PhD.

Mesrob Kassemdjian, an ethnic Armenian known as Robbie to his students, managed to escape his 17th floor flat with his girlfriend and elderly auntie before the fire engulfed the building.

So far 30 people are confirmed to have died in the disaster but the death toll is expected to rise above 70.

The teacher of criminology at University Centre Croydon (UCC), based at Croydon College, watched as the building "caught fire like a candle".

Now, his students, who describe Robbie as "much-loved" are trying to collect £1,500 for him to replace his extensive book collection, laptop and equipment he used to teach and for research into his PhD, which were all lost in the blaze.

On the JustGiving website, one of the organisers of the fundraiser wrote: "We want to try raise money for Robbie so that he can replace these things in order to carry on learning, teaching and researching.

"If you can make a contribution to help Robbie get back on his feet please do, any contributions will be greatly appreciated."

Robbie was watching a movie when he heard the sirens of the fire trucks, and says he didn't hear any fire alarms going off.

Speaking outside the tower block on the American Today programme earlier this week, Robbie said: "I went outside to check the lifts to see if there was any activity. It seemed quiet but I smelt the smoke.

"I went inside and looked out the window and I could see the flames coming out from beneath.

"I woke up my auntie and with the help of my girlfriend we moved fast so that we could move slowly down the stairs. I tried to warn my neighbour. Him and his wife were right behind us by a couple of minutes."

He said "chaos" broke out behind them on the stairwell and he felt like they were minutes away from "real disaster".

Robbie said: "When we got outside the initial fire that I saw underneath me, by the time we got down, which took about 10 to 12 minutes, had risen along the whole length of the building.

"The building caught fire like a candle. We were outside and looking up and we could see people inside waving at us.

"We were telling them to come down but they were waving back which makes me feel like maybe they couldn't because there was already smoke when we were going down the stairwell but maybe the smoke got worse and people were scared to take the risk of I suppose suffocation.

"I don't know everybody in the building by name but we know each other by face. We see each other every day, everyone in the building is really nice.


"It's full of families and children and I've seen a lot of people, I'm so happy to see them, we've all come together but there's a lot of people I haven't seen either. I don't want to think the worst but it's really worrying."


LATEST NEWSAll Today news

18:42 • 23/03

Three Armenians win in Dutch local elections

17:10 • 23/03

Two confirmed dead in Paris supermarket shooting

16:52 • 23/03

National Assembly approves government’s new structure

16:14 • 23/03

At least one killed in French supermarket hostage-taking - mayor

15:48 • 23/03

Armenian parliament speaker to attend Inter-Parliamentary Union's summit in Geneva

15:13 • 23/03

Playboy star says Trump 'once tried' to pay her for sex

14:55 • 23/03

Karen Karapetyan discusses infrastructure development projects with Russian company directors

13:52 • 23/03

EU leaders blast Turkey for ‘illegal actions’ in Mediterranean

13:33 • 23/03

Blogger Alexander Lapshin to visit Armenia

13:16 • 23/03

US warship sails near disputed islands in South China Sea, officials say

12:16 • 23/03

Obama gets traditional Maori nose-rubbing welcome in New Zealand

11:56 • 23/03

Armenian, Madagascar foreign ministers discuss La Francophonie summit agenda

11:32 • 23/03

More than 130 whales die in mass stranding in Western Australia

10:55 • 23/03

Trump suspends metal tariffs for key US trade partners

10:36 • 23/03

Argentine Universities suspend denialist conferences organized by Ankara

10:27 • 23/03

US approves $1bn in Saudi defense contracts

10:00 • 23/03

EU to recall ambassador from Moscow over nerve attack

09:46 • 23/03

Turkish-Armenian MP Raises ‘Yeva’ film ban in parliament

09:11 • 23/03

Trump appoints new national security adviser

18:26 • 22/03

Ombudsman calls for urgent attention to disability issues

17:24 • 22/03

Sea lion rescued from plastic rope digging into her neck

17:05 • 22/03

Lieutenant-General Haykaz Baghmanyan appointed to top CSTO office  

16:44 • 22/03

6 killed in chemical factory explosion in Czech Republic

16:39 • 22/03

Usain Bolt to train with Borussia Dortmund 

16:32 • 22/03

US arrests Iranian banker over alleged $115m sanctions evasion scheme

16:20 • 22/03

Karabakh settlement requires optimistic approach – OSCE official

16:08 • 22/03

Trump set to announce China sanctions 

15:49 • 22/03

United States 'revising attitude' to Artsakh – diplomat  

14:58 • 22/03

Constitution proposes open ballot system for prime minister’s election – Hrayr Tovmasyan

14:29 • 22/03

Global Finance magazine names Ardshibank Best Bank in Armenia

14:05 • 22/03

Monica Bellucci stuns in a low-cut black dress as she joins stylish Diane Keaton, 72, at awards ceremony in Rome

13:48 • 22/03

Mobile cabins that can be towed around Arctic Finland to find best spots for viewing the Northern Lights

13:15 • 22/03

Agreement with Euratom potentially enhances EU-Armenia partnership - official  

12:37 • 22/03

Turkish, German president discuss anti-terror efforts in phone conversation

12:27 • 22/03

EU budgetary assistance program discussed in Yerevan

11:52 • 22/03

Zuckerberg 'sorry' over Cambridge Analytica 'breach'

11:43 • 22/03

Bako Sahakyan attends opening of Independence Monument in Antelias

11:33 • 22/03

168 Zham: Russia increases influence on Armenia, Azerbaijan through weapons trading – British analyst

10:59 • 22/03

Sarkozy under investigation over campaign funding from Gaddafi

10:39 • 22/03

168 Zham: EU to reshape Eastern Partnership format

09:52 • 22/03

Zhamanak: Armed group which seized police compound in 2016 intended to occupy military unit

09:33 • 22/03

'Serious fire' at Dublin hotel

09:13 • 22/03

Peru president offers resignation amid vote-buying scandal

18:43 • 21/03

Money 'losing importance' in modern world, paving way to talented people – Ruben Vardanyan

16:59 • 21/03

Ukraine terminates economic cooperation with Russia

16:41 • 21/03

Islamic State claims responsibility for Kabul attack

16:08 • 21/03

Cloud cap over Mount Ararat stuns Turks (photo)

15:40 • 21/03

NSYNC to get Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

15:29 • 21/03

Armenian academician named Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry

15:13 • 21/03

Pregnant Kate Middleton looks blooming in mint as she attends a child mental health symposium in London ahead of her maternity leave

14:57 • 21/03

Suicide bomber kills at least 26 near shrine in Kabul

14:42 • 21/03

Senior priest is condemned for wishing Pope Francis a quick death if he continues to 'stray' from traditional Catholic values

12:41 • 21/03

Armenian parliament elects new president of Constitutional Court

11:54 • 21/03

Turkey, Iraq ‘keen to cooperate’ on border security

11:48 • 21/03

Bako Sahakyan meets with Catholicos Aram I in Lebanon

11:29 • 21/03

Former Sevilla coach celebrating return after beating cancer

11:12 • 21/03

Azerbaijan in talks for joining OPEC

10:58 • 21/03

China, Russia 'aggressively pursuing' hypersonic weapons — and the US doesn't have any defenses

10:51 • 21/03

Online Queueing: Ucom App Version 8.3 Release

10:35 • 21/03

Serzh Sargsyan congratulates Armenian-Kurds on Nowruz

10:18 • 21/03

Trump formally sends Mike Pompeo nomination to Senate

09:45 • 21/03

Artsakh president starts working visit to Lebanon

09:28 • 21/03

Rohingya children trafficked for sex  

09:12 • 21/03

Trump announces plan to meet with Russia’s Putin

17:39 • 20/03

Armenia, Italy praise 25% increase in bilateral turnover

17:06 • 20/03

US retailers ask Trump to reconsider China tariffs

16:27 • 20/03

World's last male northern white rhino dies

16:10 • 20/03

UN urges Turkey to end state of emergency  

15:56 • 20/03

Armenia committed to ECHR judgements – Gevorg Kostanyan  

15:29 • 20/03

Stunning image captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft reveals a massive storm raging over 'rose-colored Jupiter'

15:01 • 20/03

Serzh Sargsyan's nomination for prime minister 'best real solution' – Republican MP

14:19 • 20/03

China’s Xi Jinping warns he is ready to 'fight bloody battles' against enemies

13:21 • 20/03

Devoted teacher gives lesson in 'China's loneliest school' having just one pupil

13:07 • 20/03

Bus with Armenian license plates crashes in Russia; 2 reported dead

12:56 • 20/03

Weinstein Company files for bankruptcy

12:42 • 20/03

India confirms 39 dead in IS attack

12:21 • 20/03

Armen Sarkissian conducts meetings with Silicon Valley specialists

11:56 • 20/03

Arthur Abraham to face Nielsen in official April 28 match

11:42 • 20/03

Ex-French president Sarkozy 'arrested over campaign financing'  

11:30 • 20/03

Iravunk: Unemployment key factor behind increasing migration from Armenia - demographer

11:14 • 20/03

Mahmoud Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel ‘son of a dog’

11:01 • 20/03

168 Zham: Armenia-Russia relations plunging into chaos - Russian analyst

10:33 • 20/03

Golden bras put Taiwanese women behind bars  

10:17 • 20/03

Armenian conscript wounded in Tavush  

10:03 • 20/03

Armenian president says he may become prime minister ‘on one condition’

09:16 • 20/03

Armenian border troops shoot down Azerbaijani drone on Karabakh frontline

09:06 • 20/03

US, South Korea set date for military drills

18:04 • 19/03

United States’ position on Nagorno-Karabakh ‘unchanged’ – embassy statement

17:50 • 19/03

Naomi Osaka claims first WTA title after beating Daria Kasatkina

17:28 • 19/03

Armenia ‘leading country’ with frequency of visits to Russia

16:51 • 19/03

French brand features  Egyptian actor’s face as theme for collection

16:19 • 19/03

Handover of regions ruled out from Karabakh peace agenda – deputy FM  

15:34 • 19/03

Apple secretly developing its own screens for first time

15:19 • 19/03

Nalbandian briefs Armed Forces' command on Karabakh peace concept

14:59 • 19/03

Stunning telescopic footage taken from over mile away captures the silhouettes of photographer and dog playing fetch at sunrise

14:38 • 19/03

Armenian-Russia friendship unrelated to domestic agendas - official  

14:22 • 19/03

Jet Airways passenger caught with illegal gold bars 

14:04 • 19/03

Ex-Ukranian air force fighter pilot blamed for shooting down flight MH17 found dead at home

13:01 • 19/03

US Democrats and Republicans call on Zuckerberg to be grilled on data firm that 'harvested users' private information'

12:52 • 19/03

PricewaterhouseCoopers and Center for Strategic Initiatives conduct workshop on tax payment methodology