Death toll rises in London tower block inferno

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Fire engulfed a 24-storey block of flats in central London on Wednesday, killing some people, injuring at least 50 more and trapping some residents asleep inside the towering inferno.

The horrific scene that unfolded at Grenfell Tower in West London from early on Wednesday morning has raised questions about how such a fire could take hold of a building so quickly in 21st century Britain.

Samira Lamrani, who lives next to Grenfell Tower, told the Press Association that she watched a woman throw her baby from a window to a man on the ground. "Help! Help!' and putting their hands on the window and asking to help them", Amina Sharif told Reuters.

When we turned up ... there was only one side that was on fire.

Another witness, Saimar Lleshi, saw people tying together sheets to try to escape.

"At one point she said she'd just tried to leave again and said it was impossible", Green said.

Paul Woodrow, head of operations for the London Ambulance Service, said 20 of the injured were in critical condition. "I've never seen that in a residential block".

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Mike Doyle told ABC News. " He said, 'I understand, ' and said he needed to take the gun to a range to shoot it, Watson said". She said he was using a long gun and exchanging fire with law enforcement officers, one of whom yelled for her to get down.

Shortly after news of Wednesday's tragedy broke, it claimed: "Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower".

"Extensive cordons remain in place and a number of nearby residents have been evacuated as a precaution", Cundy said. A plume of smoke stretched for miles (kilometers) over the capital.

Nassima Boutrig, who lives across from the building, said she was awakened by sirens and smoke so thick that it filled her home as well.

Edward Daffarn, who lived on the 16th floor, said the building's fire alarm didn't ring.

A former work colleague has tweeted her picture and asked anyone who has seen Ms Elgwahry to get in touch.

'By the time that we got downstairs, the fire had gone all the way up and it was just about reaching our windows on the 17th floor.

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

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He represents Louisiana's 1st Congressional District. "There must have been 50 to 100 shots fired", he told CNN . Paul told ABC News in a telephone interview that he was in the batting cage when he heard an isolated gunshot.

Some residents were seen using bedsheets to make their escape from the tower block. The London Fire Brigade said it rescued 65 people.

Collins said residents of the tower were particularly concerned about the lack of fire exits in the building.

Mr Chellat, a relative of missing residents from the Grenfell Tower in west London, told the broadcaster the fire happened when "everybody is awake to have their last supper", before opening their fast for the day.

"We have heard a number of theories about the cause of the fire at Grenfell Tower", said the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the local authority which owns the block.

The tower was built as public housing and is located in a working-class but rapidly gentrifying part of the mostly wealthy Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Residents said they had repeatedly expressed concern over fire safety in the block.

The blaze started around 1 a.m. London time, and smoke was still pouring from the building more than six hours later.

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Some residents said that they did not hear smoke alarms go off, and it's not clear if the building had a working sprinkler system. The Australian High Commission in London is making inquiries to determine whether any Australians have been affected by the fire.

"There is potential for the fire to propagate throughout the system if adequate fire barriers are not installed. the installation of fire barriers at each floor level above the first floor level (i.e. starting with the second storey) should be considered", the BRE said in a publication entitled "Fire performance of external thermal insulation for walls of multi-storey buildings".

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