London Fire live: More than 50 residents in hospital after blaze destroys Grenfell Tower killing several inhabitants

A huge fire has engulfed a large block of flats in London, with many people thought to be trapped in their homes. The fire brigade has said there are “a number of fatalities”.

Hundreds of firefighters were sent to 27-storey Grenfell Tower in north Kensington, as large plumes of smoke billowed above the capital after the blaze broke out in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Witnesses spoke of “terrifying” scenes, with some residents suggesting they heard no alarm go off when the fire began. At least 30 people have been taken to five hospitals.

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A newsletter sent to Grenfell Tower residents in 2014 containing fire safety advice told people to stay in their flats unless told otherwise, according to The Guardian.

The newsletter reportedly said: “Our longstanding ‘stay put’ policy stays in force until you are told otherwise. This means that (unless there is a fire in your flat or in the hallway outside your flat) you should stay inside your flat.

“This is because Grenfell was designed according to rigorous fire safety standards. Also, the new front doors for each flat can withstand a fire for up to 30 minutes, which gives plenty of time for the fire brigade to arrive.”

Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick, chairman of the all-party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group, said the Government has resisted calls to install sprinkler systems in high-rise blocks in the wake of the Lakanal House tragedy.
Mr Fitzpatrick, who was a firefighter for 20 years, told LBC: “We’ve been pressing for fire sprinkler systems in buildings where we think it’s appropriate – certainly over a height level and in places where there is vulnerability, care homes and in schools – and Government has been resisting that for some time.”
But the MP for Poplar and Limehouse added: “There’s obviously a huge number of questions going to have to be asked about what happened to Latimer Road but it’s very early in the situation.
“It’s a bit early to start pointing fingers, I would have thought.”

One 12-year-old boy living nearby said he was woken by people “shouting and screaming” outside and saw #GrenfellTower “completely in flames”

Local residents told The Independent they were woken up by sounds of shouting around one o’clock this morning.
Many described getting dressed and gathering their belongings before leaving their houses.
Bob Stone, 63, said he ran out of his flat in the early hours of the morning to see sparks coming from the building and around 40 people waving from the windows.
“I thought they’ve got to get outside, that ain’t right,” he said. “I didn’t see how many got out in the end.
Taglub Obaid, 12, described being woken up by people “shouting and screaming” outside.
He said the tower block was “completely in flames” and said it had been a “terrifying experience”.
Several people said they heard screams coming from people inside the tower block as the blaze engulfed the building.

Anyone concerned about loved ones who may have been caught up in the fire should contact the Metropolitan Police’s casualty bureau on 0800 0961 233 or 0207 158 0197.

Police have said if you do not get through immediately, please try again.
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said there had been a “number of fatalities” but could not say how many due to the size and complexity of the building.

If you can help with clothes, food, blankets, toiletries etc please donate to: St Clements Church, 95 Sirdar Rd, W11 4EQ #GrenfellTower

A police officer helps to evacuate a local resident from close to the scene (Reuters) 

Over 200 firefighters are attending the fire, with 40 vehicles in total, including 14 fire rescue vehicles, said the Fire Commissioner’s press office.
The first fire crews were on the scene within six minutes after the first call at 0.54am.
Firefighters reportedly managed to bring trapped residents to safety from even the top floor of the 24-storey block.

Ambulances near the scene of the fire in Latimer Road in west London. More than 50 people have been taken to five hospitals after the blaze broke out in a block of flats (Reuters)

The burnt facade of Grenfell Tower in North Kensington (Reuters)

Police have issued a statement on the fire currently blazing in west London, saying it is “likely to take some time” to ascertain its cause. 

Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said: “I can confirm there have been a number of fatalities and others receiving medical care. We will be soon making contact with next of kin.

The force said it was “likely to take some time before we are in a position to confirm the cause of the fire”.

London Ambulance Service said paramedics had taken more than 50 patients to five hospitals.

Earlier this morning I went live from the scene of the blaze…#GrenfellTower

Grenfell Tower in north Kensington, a block of flats at least 24 storeys high, has been blazing since 12.54am this morning.
London Fire Brigade has confirmed a “number of fatalities”, however the number is not currently known owing to the “size and complexity” of the building.

One resident says he ran out of his flat to see sparks coming from the building and around 40 people waving from the windows #GrenfellTower

Truly horrific pictures of terrible fire in my local neighbourhood. My thoughts & prayers with everyone involved & brave emergency services.

There have been a “number of fatalities” at Grenfell Tower fire, London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton announces.

Fabio Bebber wrote on Twitter: “More screams for help as the fire spreads to another side of the building.

“We can see how quick the fire spreads via the external panels. It’s unbearable hearing someone screaming for their lives at £grenfelltower.”

Fire investigator Dr Peter Mansi tells ITV’s Good Morning Britain it is one of the worst fires he has seen in 30 years, saying: “I’ve not seen anything to this extent”

Nick Paget-Brown described the blaze as a “very, very severe fire”.

He told Sky News: “Clearly it’s an absolutely devastating fire.

“Several hundred would have been in there. It’s a question of establishing how many people were in there at the time of the fire.

“I’m really not in any position to answer any questions about the structure.

“Clearly there’s a lot more work to do to evacuate the building and to establish how safe it is.”

Jody Martin said he got to the scene just as the first fire engine was arriving at Grenfell Tower, in Latimer Road.

He told the BBC: “I grabbed an axe from the fire truck, it looked like there was a bit of confusion about what to do.

“I ran around the building looking for a fire escape and couldn’t see any noticeable fire escapes around the building. A lot of debris falling down.

“I eventually gained entry on to the second floor, and once I got to the corridor I realised there was so much smoke there.”

He added that given the thickness of the smoke, he would be surprised if anyone could have left the building without assistance.

“I watched one person falling out, I watched another woman holding her baby out the window… hearing screams, I was yelling everyone to get down and they were saying ‘We can’t leave our apartments, the smoke is too bad on the corridors’,” he said.


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