Rain-screen cladding may have made London fire worse

Flumes of black and grey smoke were billowing high into the air over London hours after the blaze was sparked.

As firefighters were still searching for survivors of Wednesday's devastating high-rise fire in the west of London, there were immediate questions about whether the multi-fatality incident could have been prevented if simple safety measures had been in place.

Cotton said a number of people died in the fire, but she couldn't confirm how many because of the size and complexity of the building.

Prime Minister Theresa May was said to be "deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life" and newly appointed police and fire minister Nick Hurd will chair a meeting of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat to co-ordinate the response.

Firefighters were alerted to the blaze at Grenfell Tower, an apartment block located in the neighbourhood of Kensington, shortly after Tuesday midnight, reports Efe news.

"We have taken 30 patients to five hospitals", London Ambulance Service said.

"The guys are doing an incredible job to try and get people out that building, but it's truly terrible".

"It's really important that their questions are answered".

"I looked through the spy hole and I could see smoke everywhere and the neighbors are all there".

"I was outside for about half an hour and I bumped into five or six people I went to primary school with".

Samira Lamrani told Britain's Press Association she saw a woman try to save the baby by dropping it from a window "on the ninth or 10th floor".

Frantic families at the scene attempted to call their loved ones stuck inside and were being directed by police to a nearby restaurant where some of the injured were being treated.

Rain-screen cladding may have made London fire worse

The said repairs, including the addition of some sort of cladding, had been made to the exterior of the block recently. I've not heard from them since, the phone is not going through, the landline isn't going through.

She added: "I could see people from all angles, banging and screaming for help".

"Crews wearing breathing apparatus and extended duration breathing apparatus have been working in extremely challenging and very hard conditions to rescue people and bring this major fire under control". It was fire up, up, up.

He woke his children up, handing them wet towels, and they escaped through the fire well.

Boutrig said her friend's brother, wife and children lived in the building and that her friend was waiting to find out if they were OK.

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

Initially, it was feared that the building, which appears to be gutted, could collapse. The building had a total of 120 flats.

Grenfell Tower is part of the sprawling Lancaster West Estate, an enclave of social housing managed by a private agency on behalf of the London Borough of Kensignton and Chelsea. The group says on its blog that it has raised concerns about testing and maintenance of firefighting equipment and blocked emergency access to the site. In a statement posted on Facebook, the service said the "fire is from the second floor to the top floor of the 27 floor building".

"I was in bed and heard "beep, beep, beep" and thought, 'I'll get up and run downstairs as quickly as I could'".

"I watched flames burst out of our window and our flat was engulfed in flames", he said.

He got up to have a cigarette and discovered the fire by hearing a woman shout through an open window. "I'm 100 meters away and I'm absolutely covered in ash", he continued.

  • Leroy Wright