At least 12 dead in London tower block fire


Witnesses have described how people were jumping from windows as high as the fifteenth floor, whilst a mother threw her baby from the tenth floor and thankfully a member of the public caught the baby.

More than 200 firefighters, backed up by 40 fire engines, fought for hours to try to control the blaze, London's deadliest for a generation. They say 30 people have been taken to hospitals but it's not clear if people are still trapped.

The government department in charge of regulating building work - the Department for Communities and Local Government - did not respond to Reuters' questions, including whether such fire barriers were required by law.

Death toll is expected to rise, and no more survivors are anticipated, although some people are still missing.

Cladding had been added to the outside of the building, blamed by some residents for helping the fire to spread so quickly. "It had completely spread within half an hour".

London Fire Brigade chief Dany Cotton said: "This is an unprecedented incident". "I've never seen that in a residential block".

The fire broke early Wednesday morning, when most of the city was asleep. "I was yelling at everyone to get down and they were saying: 'We can't leave our apartments, the smoke is too bad'".

Residents have told of how they didn't hear alarms as the fire swept through the 24-storey tower block in West London.

Some reports have suggested that the buildings rain- screen cladding, installed as part of a 10-million-pound refurbishment work past year may have contributed to the speed with which the fire spread through the entire building.

"I grabbed my little girl and ran down the stairs", he said.

'The response of people living nearby who provided help, compassion and support has, I think, once again shown the fantastic spirit of London, ' she said. Tiago Etienne, 17, said he spotted about three children between the ages of four and eight being dropped from an apartment around the 15th floor.

"Sadly, I can confirm that there are now 12 people that have died that we know of", Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police, said.

Ruks Mamudu, 69, escaped from her first floor apartment wearing only her purple pyjamas and bathrobe.

Another friend, Hibo Yussuf, 35, said Nura's daughter was being treated n hospital but had not been able to contact her mum.

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The local council of Kensington and Chelsea, which owns the block, said it was focusing on supporting the rescue and relief operation.

"Loads of people haven't got out", the 55-year-old said.

The Fire Brigade issued a similar notice for another KCTMO-managed building, Hazelwood Tower. It was fire up, up, up.

The disaster occurred 10 days after a terror attack at London's Borough Market.

Sprinklers in the building were reportedly not functional, and signs inside the building told residents to stay in their flats in the event of fire.

Councillor Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, said reviews of fire risk assessments will now take place: "We offer our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and have been affected by the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower".

"The potential for a fire to break out in the communal area on the walkway does not bear thinking about as residents would be trapped in the building with no way out", it said.

"I'm lucky to be alive".

Residents related how they woke up to the smell of burning and rushed to escape through smoke-filled corridors. "I consider this mass murder". At that time, a community action group sought to bring the risk to the attention of municipal authorities.

A residents' group had previously raised concerns that the building's only fire exit was blocked during renovation works on the building.

In a blog on November 20, the activist group predicted that only "a catastrophic event" leading to "serious loss of life" would bring the outside scrutiny needed to make conditions safe for residents.

"The fire crew, ambulance and police couldn't do anything, they couldn't get in, and they were just telling them to stay where they are, and we'll come and get you".

- London Fire Brigade says it has rescued 65 people from the tower.