Huge fire engulfs 27-story London tower block, people injured


Tamara, one witness, told the BBC: "There's people, like, throwing their kids out: 'Just save my children, just save my children!'"

In what has been described as an unprecedented fire by the London Fire Brigade, the authorities have stated that forty fire engines and more than 200 firefighters and officers were called to battle the blaze. A plume of black smoke stretched for miles (kilometers) across the pale sky after dawn, revealing the blackened, flame-licked wreckage of the building.

Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said firefighters expected to be on the scene for at least another 24 hours and she would not speculate about the cause of the blaze.

"In my 29 years in London Fire Brigade I have never seen a fire of this nature". It remained unclear whether the building lacked sprinklers entirely, or whether they failed.

"Muslims played a big part in getting a lot of people out", said Andre Barroso, 33. The continued to burn when the sun came up at 4:30 a.m. local time. The ambulances service said 69 people had been taken to hospital and 18 were in critical care.

They were among the first people on the scene as tenants were removed from Grenfell Tower, a social housing block in the west London district of North Kensington.

Grenfell Tower was built in 1974 and contains 120 homes, according to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. "Somebody did, a gentleman ran forward and managed to grab the baby", Lamrani told Britain's Press Association news agency.

"I could see it from my garden, it was just there, the left-hand side piece there, just a couple of floors, and over the hours it just spread and it's gone around the left of the building as well", she said.

Residents say the blaze appeared to start in an apartment on a lower floor and spread upward rapidly.

Another caller, Linda, told the station how she watched huge chunks of polystyrene type material falling from the building.

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Expressing his heartfelt sympathy to those who have been affected by the tragedy in London, UUP MLA Andy Allen said: "With a number of tower blocks in Belfast recently refurbished or now undergoing refurbishment, I have contacted the Northern Ireland Housing Executive so people can be assured that any materials used for the cladding, insulation and general renovation of tower blocks do not present a fire hazard". Another resident reported that he saw three children being thrown from the 15 floor.

Thirty people were transfered to five hospitals across London after a 27-floor high-rise apartment building burst into flames early Wednesday, London authorities said in a statement.

"There were people who were jumping out of the place".

Pictures overnight showed the whole block ablaze and several people who escaped the apartment and at the scene told of attempts to escape via the windows.

Parents wrapped wet towels around their children as they tried to escape, while others were seen desperately waving for help from the higher floors, which firefighters could not reach at the blaze took hold.

"We saw the people screaming for help", Ms Boutrig said.

"There were people banging on windows screaming, crying out for help". It was fire up, up, up.

Other firefighters said they could not speak freely, but had been in the fire, rescuing residents.

The major fire comes just 10 days after a terrorist attack occured in the city.