Several dead in London residential tower fire


Fire swept through a high-rise apartment building in west London early Wednesday, killing an unknown number of people and sending more than 50 people to area hospitals.

It was not immediately known what caused the fire.

A witness to the London tower inferno grabbed an axe and entered the building's second storey through a window in a bid to save residents.

Samira Lamrani said: "The windows were slightly ajar, a woman was gesturing that she was about to throw her baby and if somebody could catch her baby".

A residents action group said their warnings about safety had fallen on "deaf ears".

Nicky Paramasivan, who was in his seventh floor flat with his partner and child, said the advice issued to residents in the event of a fire was to stay in their flats.

Describing the scene, Mr Chowdhry said: "Locals heard screams and shouts for help and some even reported people jumping from windows". "In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never seen anything of this scale", she said.

Flames licked up the sides of the block in the north Kensington area as 200 firefighters, backed up by 40 fire engines and fought the blaze for hours.

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Police said they were evacuating the block and "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries" including two for smoke inhalation.

Signs which were installed in Grenfell's hallways and lifts in March told residents that if a fire broke out they would be "initially safe" in their flats if they kept their doors and windows closed.

"The more I looked up, floor upon floor". "I wrapped the little one up because of the smoke and I just got them out".

"Unfortunately, the Grenfell Action Group have reached the conclusion that only an incident that results in serious loss of life of KCTMO residents will allow the external scrutiny to occur that will shine a light on the practices that characterise the malign governance of this non-functioning organisation".

"I'm lucky to be alive - and lots of people have not got out of the building", he told Guardian. I saw it engulfed in flames.

Other witnesses said the fire spread rapidly up the building, with some suggesting it was fuelled by gas.

Footage on social media showed the blaze engulf the building, with huge flames stretching over a number of floors.

Firefighters were on the scene within six minutes.

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The London Ambulance Service said it has sent 20 ambulance crews to respond to a London apartment building fire Wednesday morning.

"It was clear that the fire service could not cope with the fire".

"This is an unprecedented incident", Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton told reporters on the scene.

Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Metropolitan Police, said: "Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this truly shocking fire at Grenfell Tower".

He says firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle the fire.

George Clarke, who presents the Channel 4 TV show Amazing Spaces, told Radio 5 Live: "I'm 100 metres away and I'm absolutely covered in ash".

Grenfell Tower was recently upgraded at a cost of 8.6 million pounds ($11 million), with work finishing in May 2016.

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