June 28, 2017

Firefighters battling massive blaze in London high-rise

15 June 2017, 03:30 | Grady King

Authorities will "seek to identify towers that might have a similar process of refurbishment, run a system of checks so that we can, as quickly as possible, give reassurance to people", said Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd.

After containing the flames, firefighters continued to work by carrying out systematic searches throughout the charred wreckage. Twenty people were in a critical condition in area hospitals.

A fire and rescue service earlier said the building had 27 floors.

- 125 families live in the building, which also houses a nursery.

More than 200 firefighters, backed up by 40 fire engines, fought for hours to try to control the blaze, London's deadliest in a generation.

"I am sad to confirm that we now know that there have been fatalities".

Mr Webb said battling such fires is very hard for firefighters tackling the blaze inside the building as their breathing apparatus generally only lasts for 20 to 25 minutes.

People remain trapped in the building.

People trapped by the advancing flames and thick smoke banged on windows and screamed for help, witnesses and survivors said.

Walsall Housing Group moved to reassure residents, saying all of its blocks of flats "conform to rigorous legislative fire safety standards". Fire chiefs said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the blaze.

Significant safety concerns have been raised by local residents, including claims issues over fire alarms.

The company that manages the building, Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, described the fire as "devastating". "A lot of people said 'Help, help, help.' The fire brigade could only help downstairs".

The celeb chef on Wednesday invited those affected to gratis grub at his pasta joint Jamie's Italian, which is at a shopping center just around the corner from the fire-ravaged Grenfell Tower.

And he added that often the materials used in such buildings can be flammable. We will cooperate with the relevant authorities and emergency services and fully support their enquiries into the causes of this fire at the appropriate time. "I'll be demanding answers", he told reporters.

Turafat Yilma, a resident on the building's seventh floor, was awoken by a call from her neighbour on the 17th floor telling her to escape.

Witnesses reported seeing flames in fourth floor windows, but the fire soon spread throughout the building, trapping many residents inside.

More than 12 hours after the fire broke out, the building was still smouldering, though the building was not in danger of collapse. When no one came to help, she chose to escape on her own.

The streets around the tower have been sealed off and there is a chaos there with "people in night clothes, no shoes, crying, looking for family".

"They literally just jumped ..."

A baby flung by a terrified woman from the ninth or tenth floor was caught by the public on the ground.

The north Kensington tower resembled a giant blazing chimney with smoke billowing against the skyline at dawn, spreading ash, smoke and debris around.

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