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The London fire: 12 people are dead, and rescue efforts continue in the 24-story tower

24-Storey Grenfell Tower Block On Fire In West London
Smoke billows from the Grenfell Tower after a huge fire engulfed the building last night.
Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

At least 12 people are dead and more than 60 people were injured in a huge fire that engulfed a residential apartment building, or tower block, in West London Tuesday night. Those numbers are expected to rise as rescue efforts continue. Police say there still may be people trapped in the building.

The Grenfell Tower is a 24-story building, and it’s assumed that several hundred people would have been inside it when the fire broke out just after midnight, most of them sleeping, according to the BBC.

The blaze has been largely contained, but the building is still smoldering. Firefighters are working to put out the blaze, even 12 hours after it ignited. The cause of the fire is still unknown, according to police.

“This is an unprecedented situation,” Dany Cotton, the London Fire Brigade commissioner, said in a statement. “In my 29 years with London Fire Brigade I have never seen a fire of this nature.”

The photos are truly horrifying. Witnesses who live in the building told the BBC that they watched people fall out of the windows, and screams echoed throughout the building.

The fire engulfs the entire building and it’s dark outside Photo by Gurbuz Binici /Getty Images
A photo of the smoking building from above. Smoke billows into the sky. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

Witnesses said they were encouraged to stay inside their homes. A fire action sign that hung on the wall in the building advised residents to leave at once if there is a fire in their apartment or their side of the building. But "if you are safely within your flat and there is a fire elsewhere in the block ... you should initially be safe to stay in your flat keeping your doors and windows closed," the sign read.

A photo shared by the London Fire Brigade early this morning.
A close up of the flames in the building Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

London Mayor Sadiq Khan visited Grenfell Tower this morning and said it’s “extremely distressing and devastating.” He shared his condolences for the families who may have lost loved ones and paid tribute to emergency teams that have responded to the fire.

Firefighters have been working through the night to rescue residents and put out the fire. This group of firefighters worked a 10-hour shift:

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has shared a phone number for anyone who would like to volunteer or donate.

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