London's Grenfell Tower fire may have had a less tragic ending had the concerns raised by two Arab women been taken seriously.
Mariem Elgwahry, 27, and Nadia Choucair, 33, who are feared dead, had campaigned for better fire safety prior to the tragedy, according to The Independent.
After launching a petition and organizing a protest against the housing company, Elgwahry and Choucair were threatened with legal action and called "troublemakers".
Unconfirmed reports suggest that a fridge may have exploded on the fourth floor of the tower, triggering the fire.
The building's residents, most of whom are poor or have low incomes, had warned for many years that the building posed a fire hazard. It only had a single escape route, and lacked sprinklers and an adequate fire alarm, with boilers and gas pipes placed haphazardly, according to Quartz.
Among the prominent protesters against the poor living conditions were Nadia Choucair, a Lebanese national, and Mariem Elgwahry, who are both feared to have died in the fire.
With help from the Radical Housing Network, Choucair and Elgawhry led a campaign against the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO).
The women raised concerns about the building's poor maintenance, demanding improvement. They also launched a petition, which was signed by 90 percent of the tenants, and organized a protest outside the TMO's management offices.
Their complaints were ignored.
Pilgrim Tucker, who works for the Radical Housing Network, told The Mirror that Choucair and Elgwahry received letters ordering them to stop their campaign and were threatened with legal action.
"They both just wanted to do their best for their neighbours and keep everyone safe," said Tucker. "Things had got so bad they knew a disaster like this was inevitable, but if there was a chance of stopping it they were up for the fight. But no one listened and now this community is devastated. We have to get justice for them.
The TMO treated tenants disgracefully and with disdain. They bullied them and persecuted those like Nadia and Mariem who were brave enough to speak out, branding them troublemakers."
Choucair, a mother of three, has not been heard from since the accident and is believed to have died in the fire with her husband, three daughters, and mother in law.
Mariem Elgwahry, a senior marketing manager, is also missing and now feared dead.
The fire has triggered public outrage, with people accusing the housing company of negligence and politicians calling it "corporate manslaughter".