Huge fire engulfs tower block in west London

A deadly overnight fire raced through a 24-story apartment tower in London on Wednesday, killing at least six people and injuring 74 others. Local associations had voiced their concerns in recent times about the building's apparent fire hazards.

A structural engineer monitoring the stability of the razed building found it was safe for now and a search for people inside was continuing.

A witness told CNN that he saw people jumping from the building.

The group said there was only one entry and exit to the tower during improvement works at the block in Latimer Road and it had issues with evacuation procedures.

He said he was happy with resources and believed they were sufficient.

"There were so many concerns", Collins said. "The fire started on the upper floors".

"It's just a matter of time before this building collapses".

The 1970s tower block was recently refurbished for some £8.7 million, with work completed in May 2016.

Police Commander Stuart Cundy told reporters: "Sadly I can confirm that there are now 12 people who have died, that we know of, this is going to be a long and complex recovery operation and I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12".

Asked whether the council had received complaints and was acting on them, the leader of Kensington and Chelsea Borough, Nick Paget-Brown, said: "I think that's going to have to be looked at in even more detail during the investigation behind this".

"We tried to go back, but it was all black, so I had to come out of the building", Wahbi added. The first fire crews were on site in under six minutes.

The London Fire Brigade said it rescued 65 people. "I've never seen that in a residential block".

"Extensive cordons remain in place and a number of nearby residents have been evacuated as a precaution", Cundy said. They said they saw lights - thought to be mobile phones or torches - flashing at the top of the block of flats, and trapped residents coming to their windows - some holding children.

The whole tower block appears to have been gutted.

"I'm lucky to be alive".

He described a perilous situation: "Only one fire escape to get down, and apparently that caught on fire", he said.

Lamrani said there were "endless numbers of people" trapped and "screaming for their lives".

More than 200 firefighters were sent to the scene but Jody said they struggled to reach those inside the building, who were unable to leave.

Clearly still traumatised when he spoke to me, he said the sight that greeted him was unimaginable.

Prime Minister Theresa May's office said she was "deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life" in the fire.

Rania Ibrham was in her flat when the raging fire engulfed the housing block in London in the early hours.

Working with local charities, Islamic Relief began to provide clothes, water and food for victims evacuated to community centres, mosques and churches across west London.

Nassima Boutrig, who lives opposite the building, said she was awakened by sirens and smoke so thick that it filled her home as well. My gut instinct told me just to get the girls out.

"This is mass murder and these people need to be put into court for the way they've treated this community", he said at the scene of the blaze.

A series of blunders are being blamed for the disaster with residents claiming there were no working fire alarms, no sprinklers and the only staircase leading to safety was blocked.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said questions will need to be answered over the safety of tower blocks across the city.

Grenfell Tower is managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation on behalf of the local council.

Khan, the London mayor, said questions needed to be answered about the safety of tower blocks after some residents said they had been advised they should stay in their flats in the event of a fire.A local residents association had previously warned it was anxious about the risk of a serious fire in the block."What we can't have is a situation where people's safety is put at risk because of bad advice being given or if it is the case, as has been alleged, of tower blocks not being properly serviced or maintained", Khan said.The local council of Kensington and Chelsea, which owns the block, said it was focusing on supporting the rescue and relief operation.

"We are aware that concerns have been raised historically by residents". It said the cause of the blaze would be "fully investigated".

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