Massive fire blazed through a 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours
A massive fire blazed through a 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, police and fire services said. London fire commissioner said there were some fatalities in the fire.
The fire brigade said 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters had been called to the blaze in Grenfell Tower, which has 120 flats, on the Lancaster West Estate. The fire has been burning for more than six hours.
London ambulance service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals after the high-rise fire.
Some residents were seen using bedsheets to make their escape from the tower block. Those inside were urged not to panic.
“It has burned through to its very core. It looks very bad, very very bad. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s just such a big fire. The whole building is just crumbling. It’s just billowing black smoke,” an eyewitness told the BBC.
Police turned a church near the scene into a makeshift center for evacuees.
Many people at St Clement’s church are in wheelchairs and have been brought from adjacent buildings that were evacuated by firefighters because of fears the fire might spread.
London’s Metropolitan police service tweeted, “Residents continue to be evacuated from the tower block fire in North Kensington. A number of people being treated for a range of injuries.”
The police said an emergency number had been set up and anyone concerned for loved ones can call the casualty bureau at 08000961233.
“Fire is from second to top floor of 27 storey building,” the fire service said on Twitter. The cause of the fire is not known at this stage, it added.
Residents said repairs, including the addition of some sort of cladding, had been made to the exterior of the block recently.
“We saw the people screaming,” she said. “A lot of people said ‘Help, help, help.’ The fire brigade could only help downstairs. It was fire up, up, up. They couldn’t stop the fire.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan said a “major incident” had been declared.
Assistant commissioner (fire) Dan Daly on the London Fire Brigade’s Facebook page says it was a large and very serious fire.
He said firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle the fire.
A photograph posted by the fire service showed the side of the building engulfed in flames.
Police said in a statement they were called at 1:16am (0016 GMT) “to reports of a large fire at a block of flats in the Lancaster West Estate”.
Tim Downie, who lives not far away, told Britain’s Press Association that he feared the building could collapse. He said he heard sirens, helicopters and shouting and then saw the building engulfed in flames.
“It’s the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen. I just hope they have got everyone out,” he said. “People have been bringing water, clothes, anything they’ve got to help, out to the cordon.
Police closed the A40, a major road leading out of west London, while some parts London’s underground train network were closed as a precaution. “Please avoid the area to allow emergency services access to the scene,” it tweeted.
The apartment block was built in 1974.
George Clarke, the presenter of “Amazing Spaces,” told Radio 5 Live he was covered in ash even though he was 100 meters (yards) from the scene.
He said he saw people waving flashlights from the top level of the building and saw rescuers “doing an incredible job” trying to get people out.
Tags: London Fire, Massive Fire at London, London Ambulance, 27-storey apartment