Approximately 12 people have died in the unfortunate west London tower block fire, and the toll is expected to rise. Over 65 trapped victims were rescued by firefighters from the Grenfell Tower in north Kensington, after the building caught fire. The cause is yet to be known. Witnesses said many remained trapped in the tower block, and some jumped from windows in a bid to escape.
Ambulance services said 68 patients were taken to six hospitals across London, with 18 admitted in critical care. There are many victims unaccounted for, and many others looking for their loved ones via social media. Eyewitnesses said they saw lights, thought to be mobile phones or torches flashing at the top of the block of flats. Trapped residents came to their windows, some holding children. A witness said a baby was caught by a member of the public after it was dropped from the 120-flat tower block.
Commander Stuart Cundy, Metropolitan Police, said, “Sadly, I can confirm that there are now 12 people that have died that we know of. I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12.” London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner, Steve Apter said there were “still pockets of fire yet to be extinguished in places particularly difficult to reach,” but “almost all” of the building has been checked.
It was a horrific sight, one close to 9/11, as people tried their best to survive. An eyewitness said, “I watched one person falling out, watched another woman holding her baby out the window... hearing screams. I was yelling at everyone to get down and they were saying 'We can't leave our apartments, the smoke is too bad on the corridors.'”
Managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, the Grenfell Tower underwent an £8.6m refurbishment as part of a wider transformation of the estate completed in May last year. Before and after the refurbishment, the local Grenfell Action Group had claimed that the block constituted a fire risk and residents warned that site access for emergency vehicles was “severely restricted”.