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24 Story Highrise Fire in London UK


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Dozens of firefighters remain on the scene of a massive fire that swept through a highrise apartment building in west London, England, and has left at least six people dead and sent more than 50 to area hospitals.

Flames could be seen shooting from windows in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in North Kensington and plumes of smoke stretched for kilometres over the capital as more than 200 firefighters battled the blaze. 


By late morning, London police confirmed at least six people had died, "but this figure is likely to rise during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days. Many others are receiving medical care."

London Ambulance Service said 74 people were being treated for a range of injuries and 20 people are in critical condition. 

Britain London Fire

A firefighter checks damage after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, in west London. (Rick Findler/Associated Press)

Samira Lamrani said she saw a woman try to save a baby by dropping the child from a window "on the ninth or 10th floor." 

She said "people were starting to appear at the windows, frantically banging and screaming. The windows were slightly ajar, a woman was gesturing that she was about to throw her baby and if somebody could catch her baby.

"Somebody did. A gentleman ran forward and managed to grab the baby."

Joe Walsh, 58, said he saw someone throw two children out of a window from the fifth or sixth floor. 

Tiago Etienne, 17, said he spotted about three children between four and eight years old being dropped from an apartment around the 15th floor.

'Unprecedented incident'

"This is an unprecedented incident," Dany Cotton, commissioner of the London fire department, told reporters on the scene. "In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never, ever seen anything of this scale."

Cotton couldn't confirm the number of deaths because of the size and complexity of the building. Witnesses said they saw people jumping from the upper floors.

Cotton told a news conference that some firefighters sustained minor injuries and the fire brigade will likely be on the scene for 24 hours. 

She would not speculate about the cause of the fire or how it spread so rapidly over the whole tower block.


Massive apartment building fire in London1:43

The London Fire Brigade received the first reports of the fire at 12:54 a.m. local time, and the first engines arrived within six minutes, she said.

Shortly before 11 a.m., the fire brigade reported the building was not at risk of collapsing.

"I looked through the spy hole and I could see smoke everywhere and the neighbours are all there. There's a fireman 
shouting 'get down the stairs,'" one of the block's residents, Michael Paramasivan, told BBC Radio. "It was an inferno.

"As we went past the fourth floor, it was completely thick black smoke. As we've gone outside, I'm looking up at the block and it was just going up. It was like pyrotechnics. It was just unbelievable how quick it was burning."

London highrise fire

Many neighbours said they hadn't slept all night after being awoken by sirens around 1 a.m. London time. ((Thomas Daigle/CBC))


People at the scene said they were unable to reach friends and family inside. Others said they could see people inside using flashlights and mobile phones to try to signal for help from higher floors.

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

"We saw the people screaming," she said. "A lot of people said 'help, help, help.' The fire brigade could only help downstairs. It was fire up, up, up. They couldn't stop the fire."

'There were no fire alarms'

Other survivors spoke of confusion and conflicting advice given to residents, many of whom had been advised in advance not to leave their apartments in the event of a fire.

London fire map

(CBC )

"There were no fire alarms," said Edward Daffarn 55, who was warned by a neighbour to flee. "There was heavy smoke in the hallway. I could not find the stairs."

Daffarn said residents had complained for years to London City Council about building safety, to no avail. 


"I'm lucky to be alive.  A neighbour's smoke alarm went off and another neighbor phoned and told me to get out," he said. "I consider this mass murder." 


Others searched for information at makeshift evacuation centres set up at churches and recreation centres.

At St. Clement's Church, Hadra Hassad was trying to find one of her closest friends, who lived on the 21st floor. Hassad believes a daughter of one of her friends is in a hospital, but didn't know which one.


Exhausted firefighters

Ambulances and fire trucks filled the streets around the building located in a diverse, working-class area of London. Nearby residents, some carrying pets, were also forced out of their homes. Volunteers were handing out bottled water.


Volunteers have been bringing clothes and food to makeshift shelters to help those displaced by the fire. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

"Crews wearing breathing apparatus and extended duration breathing apparatus have been working in extremely challenging and difficult conditions to rescue people and bring this major fire under control," said Cotton.

A structural engineer is checking the stability of the building as firefighters make their way up the floors.

"At the moment the building continues to be safe for our crews to go and work in," said Cotton.



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David Taylor, who lives near the building, told CBC News reporter Thomas Daigle that he was awoken at 1:15 a.m. by a loud noise, then noticed "flames shooting up the side of the building."

He said he "was absolutely mesmerized and shocked because there were people in the window. I was shouting at them 'Get out of the building,' and they're going waving at us. It took four hours for the whole building to go up in flames and there's loads of kids at the top. Makes your guts feel funny."

Adam Ali, another nearby resident, said it was the worst fire he had ever seen. "That looks like an image from a war zone," he told CBC News. "Doesn't look like something you'd see in a city like London."

'Our warnings fell on deaf ears'

Grenfell Tower was built in 1974 and contains 120 flats, according to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The construction firm that refurbished the tower says its work "met all required building control, fire regulation, and health and safety standards."

Rydon completed the $14.47-million Cdn tower in May 2016, including adding new cladding and windows.


Local residents gather close to the scene of the fire. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

The Grenfell Action Group, a community organization formed to oppose a nearby redevelopment project, has been warning about the risk of fire at Grenfell Tower since 2013. The group has raised concerns about testing and maintenance of firefighting equipment, and blocked emergency access to the site.

A building plan of Grenfell Tower released by the British Press Association shows a single staircase in the middle of the tower.

"All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time," the group said in a blog post written after the fire broke out.

Mayor wants answers

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

"Across London we have many, many tower blocks and 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." 


View image on Twitter

Prime Minister Theresa May's Downing Street office said she was "deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the Grenfell Tower and is being kept constantly updated on the situation."

The local council of Kensington and Chelsea, which owns the building, said its focus was on finding temporary housing for residents and the cause of the fire would be fully investigated.

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16 minutes ago, Derp... said:

Unreal, been following along on twitter. Makes you wonder what the condition of some of the older places in Van are like.

Lots of firetraps in every city and town in the country, slum lords skirt or ignore regulations all the time. What a horrible sight in London.

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36 minutes ago, Derp... said:

Unreal, been following along on twitter. Makes you wonder what the condition of some of the older places in Van are like.

no need to wonder, this city is filled with tinder boxes. It wasn't until the 90s that the sprinkler bylaws came in.

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Apparently the building was undergoing or had undergone renovations to which a local group had complained numerous times about being done in a very unprofessional manner including not reattaching sprinkler systems closing off stairwells etc.


They won't have a final death toll for up to 48 hours or more.  This is the definition of terrible :(

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When they did reno's on my place they striped the walls in the bathroom to put in a new bath/shower door.  I was shocked at how rotted our building frame was, some of it was charred.  It would go up like a matchbox if there ever was a fire. 


Looking at the photos I expect a lot of casualties.  Dying while being trapped in a fire or drowning has to be the worst way to go out.  RIP to the victims.

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This is horrible.  Thankful as always for the bravery of the fire brigades and selfless citizens.


population density is extreme in London.  I lived in an old building for half a year in south kensington.  There wasn't a single fire alarm or smoke alarm to my memory.

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58 minutes ago, prix57 said:

Any news on what the cause of the fire was?


It was horrific site seeing the entire 24 story building engulfed in flames.

Not sure of the exact cause (a kitchen fire?),but it was a disaster waiting to happen...The building had just been refurbished,and the brand new exterior cladding is what caused the fire to rapidly spread (it had already reached the top floor within 12 minutes)...

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