Six people have been confirmed dead in a massive London fire in a residential high-rise in West London. The massive fire engulfed the Grenfell Tower in the early hours of today.
The 24-story residential block has seen over 64 of its residents hospitalised since then and Metropolitan police say that the death toll is expected to rise. Eyewitnesses put much more people at the location, claiming that they were trapped in the tower and screaming for help as over 250 firefighters tried to get the blaze under control.
One particular witness described to the Guardian that a baby had been thrown from a window and thankfully caught by a member of the public. The cause of the London fire still remains unknown but the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan said that an investigation needed to happen into the safety of tower blocks.
An update from the London Ambulance Service says that 20 of the injured people are in critical condition. The Director of Operations Paul Woodrow said:
“Following this morning’s fire at Grenfell Tower, West London, we have treated and taken 64 patients to six hospitals across London, where 20 people are currently in critical care. Our thoughts are with everyone affected.
Over 100 of our medics have been working hard to respond to this incident, including ambulance crews, advanced paramedics, advanced trauma teams from London’s Air Ambulance and those staff managing the incident in our special operations centre. Our hazardous area response teams are also on scene, who carry specialist equipment including breathing apparatus. We’ve been treating patients for a range of injuries, as well as for smoke inhalation.”
David Collins, a member of the Grenfell Tower residents’ association said that residents concerns about fire safety had been ignored. He told BBC News that:
“We repeatedly reported concerns to the tenant management organisation of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, including fire safety concerns which were not investigated during the regeneration works. Concerns over locations of boilers, concerns about escape, concerns about fire escape lighting, the list goes on. I spoke to councillors and they refused to investigate. They wouldn’t believe that the residents were concerned. 90% of residents signed an independent petition asking for there to be an investigation into the organisation that runs this building because they were so incompetent. And the council turned it down.”
Many of the residents who escaped before the London fire engulfed the building are still waiting to hear news about their loved ones and neighbours who were trapped. Our prayers are with them even as the efforts seem to have shifted from rescue to recovery.