A fire tore through a London block of flats early this morning, trapping terrified residents inside.
Forty fire engines and 200 officers were dispatched to the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in Shepherd’s Bush to tackle the inferno and help get residents to safety.
There are 120 homes in the building and the leader of the local council said it’s likely ‘several hundred’ people would have been in the flats when the fire started.
According to the London Ambulance Service 30 people have been taken to five hospitals following the fire but the BBC is reporting that a number of people are still unaccounted for.
— Chris (@skyblue66) June 14, 2017
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said:
Police were called at 01:16hrs on Wednesday, 14 June to reports of a large fire at a block of flats in the Lancaster West Estate, W11.
Officers, the London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service are currently at the scene. An evacuation process is underway.
At this stage we are aware of two people being treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. We await an update as to whether there are any further injuries.
The Local Authority has been informed. Cordons are in place and it is advised that the estate and surrounding area is avoided.
— Kevin W. (@kwilli1046) June 14, 2017
Witnesses reported that people were trapped on the higher floors and there were unconfirmed reports on social media of people using makeshift ropes to escape the fire.
Police and paramedics helped firefighters evacuate residents and set up an exclusion zone around the base of the flats, warning that there’s a real risk the flats could collapse.
It’s currently unknown how the fire began but the Daily Star reports one resident claimed it was caused by a ‘fridge exploding’.
An emergency number has been set up for anyone concerned for loved ones in #NorthKensington fire please call Casualty Bureau 0800 0961 233
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) June 14, 2017
Last year residents warned that the flats were a fire hazard when rubbish began to pile up in a walkway.
In a post on The Grenfell Action Group blog someone wrote:
The potential for a fire to break out in the communal area on the walkway does not bear thinking about as residents would be trapped in the building with no way out.
A nearby church is reportedly offering refuge to those made homeless by the blaze and an emergency number has been set up for anyone concerned for loved ones – 0800 0961 233.