At last six dead after inferno rips through London apartment block

Posted June 15, 2017

Firefighters rescued many people and are still trying to put the fire out in the 24-storey block 12 hours on.

Paul Munakr, who lives on the seventh floor, managed to escape told BBC, "As I was going down the stairs, there were firefighters, truly wonderful firefighters that were actually going upstairs, to the fire, trying to get as many people out the building as possible".

"I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12", Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said in a televised address.

"People were starting to appear at the windows, frantically banging and screaming", she told London's Evening Standard newspaper.

"This is a multi-ethnic, multicultural, diverse community that just didn't get served by the people representing them", he said.

"They decided that £10 million would go on this cladding, and we believe that's what went on fire", said Stewart Wallace, 59, a resident who said he had been evacuated from his home over fears Grenfell Tower could collapse.

"Most of the people I could see were Muslim".

Early eyewitness accounts include stories of babies and small children being tossed from high stories of the building by their parents in order to help them survive.

"As I was going down the stairs, there were firefighters, truly unbelievable firefighters that were actually going upstairs, to the fire, trying to get as many people out the building as possible", he told the BBC.

The tower block was recently refurbished at a cost of £8.7 million, with work completed in May a year ago.

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

It emerged in the hours after the incident that residents had repeatedly raised concerns about the building's fire safety.

"If we'd listened to them and stayed in the flat we'd have perished", he told the BBC. I just can't see how people could have gotten out.

He said he only saw approximately seven people exit the complex for the entire time he was outside.

British Prime Minister Theresa May called an emergency meeting on dealing with the disaster.

Multiple fire engines are on the scene at Ladbroke Grove, West London. "A lot of people said 'help, help, help.' The fire brigade could only help downstairs".

An interviewee told local radio that the fire started at the fourth floor, but the smoke alarms had not gone off. Before and during a two-year £10m refurbishment, the Grenfell Action Group claimed that the block constituted a fire risk and residents warned that site access for emergency vehicles was "severely restricted". I was screaming at residents in the building, saying, "Get out, get out of the apartment".

"We are in the Westfield just around the corner".

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.

Grenfell Tower is part of the sprawling Lancaster West Estate, an enclave of social housing managed privately on behalf of the London Borough of Kensignton and Chelsea.

The Grenfell Action Group has spoken out about their repeated requests for improved safety in the building, writing on their blog that their "warnings fell on deaf ears".