Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

At least 12 dead in London tower block fire

At least 12 dead in London tower block fire

Some bodies have been removed from the smouldering remains of the building, which contains 120 flats thought to be home to between 400 and 600 people.

Witnesses reported seeing flames in fourth floor windows, but the fire soon spread throughout the building, trapping many residents inside. "I am sad to confirm that we now know there have been fatalities and more than 50 people have been taken to hospitals", he said in a statement early Wednesday. "I was unable to do anything but watch", he said as bits of debris continued to fall from the building.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said questions needed to be answered about the safety of tower blocks after some residents said they had been advised they should stay in their flats in the event of a fire. He said crews have rescued 65 people from the building, and that firefighters have searched most of the tower and reached the top floor.

Paul Woodrow, head of operations for the London Ambulance Service, said 20 of the injured were in critical condition. One resident said the fire alarm did not go off.

The building is the Grenfell Tower in the North Kensington area.

After the fire, the group posted: "All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time".

Council leader Nick Paget-Brown said: "It is undoubtedly the case that the council received some complaints about the way the work was being conducted".

It is not known yet what caused the blaze, which firefighters continue to battle.

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. He hit Steve Scalise", Barton said, "Scalise's security detail and the Capitol Hill police immediately returned fire, and Alexandria Police also immediately came and began to return fire.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said "searching questions" need to be asked about what happened, suggesting spending cuts could have contributed to the deadly fire.

London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton said 40 fire engines were sent to the "unprecedented incident", which broke out just before 1:00am and spread through the entire building from the second floor upwards.

"In my 29 years in London Fire Brigade I have never seen a fire of this nature".

A resident action group had warned of the potential fire risk in the Grenfell Tower apartment block as far back as 18 months ago, saying a build-up of rubbish during development works posed a serious fire risk.

Another witness, Hanan, who gave only her first name, told ABC News that she managed to escape from the building's ninth floor and that she was anxious about her brother, Abdul Aziz, and his family, who were on the 26th floor. Some desperate residents threw their children from high windows, hoping someone on the ground would catch them.

Local councillor Judith Blakeman, who lives opposite the tower, rushed outside when she heard about the blaze at 5am. "We couldn't get hold of him after", said Murphy's nephew, Stevan Racz.

A review of building regulations covering fire safety was promised by Prime Minister Theresa May's chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, last year, when he was a government minister, but has not been published. "Five more minutes and that was us". Her 7-year-old son is still looking for his friend, but she's convinced he is dead.

He told the Press Association: "About 12 floors up I saw three children waving from a window and then there was just an explosion and they disappeared. There's nothing ... you're just helpless".

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