Tower block blaze: What we know

A massive fire has broken out in a 27-floor block of flats in west London where residents were being evacuated and people treated for injuries, police and fire services said.

Local resident, Joanna O'Connor, said she awoke to screams and sirens.

She described the fire as the largest she had seen in her 29 years of service.

The fire broke out about 1:00am before spreading through the entire building from the second floor upwards.

Wahabi's husband Salah Chebiouni, 45, said he was in the kitchen when "I saw fire outside my window". We kindly ask that the public stay away from the area.

London Fire Brigade chief Dany Cotton said there had been "a number of fatalities" in what she called an "unprecedented" blaze. "I'm standing here in everything I've got", he said.

Another eyewitness, named only as Samira, told the BBC: "I saw people flying out of their balconies and windows".

"He was just as surprised at how quickly the fire spread as anybody else". She said there were "a number" of fatalities. The tower block is made up of 120 homes containing hundreds of residents.

A residents' action group said its warnings about safety had fallen on "deaf ears".

"A blog late past year by occupants of the tower warned only a catastrophic fire in the tower would "bring an end to the unsafe living conditions" of tenants and leaseholders", Australian newspaper The Chronicle reports.

Pictures shared on social media showed the extent of the fire, with huge flames and plumes of smoke rising into the air.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Twitter that a major incident had been declared.

"I went to the kitchen to smoke a cigar and opened the window and I heard some woman say, "it's getting bigger, it's getting bigger".

"If I'd fallen asleep, we would have all been dead ..."

"Our advice has always been if there is a fire stay in your flat, but if we had stayed in that flat we would have been perished. And it was just spreading like wildfire".

As fearless emergency services battle to save the casualties, we are starting to hear touching stories of the kindness of strangers.

"It was like something out of a disaster movie". As he walked to his kitchen to investigate, he saw "sparks coming up" from the window.

Mickey Paramasivan, who lives on the seventh floor of the tower, described how he ushered his young daughter and girlfriend from the burning building. "We came outside and were confronted with the building that was completely engulfed in flames", she said.

"I could see it from my garden, it was just there, the left-hand side piece there, just a couple of floors, and over the hours it just spread and it's gone around the left of the building as well", she said.

"There's a lot of people we know, we haven't seen them, we don't know what's going to happen".

George Clarke told Radio 5 Live that he was covered in ash even though he was 100 metres from the scene.

He said he saw people jumping from the building. "Just complete nightmare, absolute nightmare", recounted Littlejohn.

London Ambulance Service says 50 people have been taken to five hospitals following a major fire in a high-rise residential building.

She said the first fire trucks were on the scene within six minutes.

  • Leroy Wright