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.
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.
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:
Locals cheered & clapped as a group of fire fighters walked through the estate after a 10hr shift. One told me: "it's horrendous in there" pic.twitter.com/4TyQXKENPm— Fiona Rutherford (@Fi_Rutherford) June 14, 2017
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has shared a phone number for anyone who would like to volunteer or donate.
If you would like to volunteer to help with the support effort please contact 020 7361 3008 and let us know your skills.— RBKC (@RBKC) June 14, 2017