At least six dead after massive fire engulfs London tower block

"Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this truly shocking fire at Grenfell Tower", said Metropolitan Police Commander, Stuart Cundy.

Massive flames licked up the sides of the block as 200 firefighters battled the blaze for hours along with 40 fire engines.

It mirrors residents' reports from mid-2013 of continual power surges that destroyed electronic devices and caused outlets to smoke. Firefighters are working to put out the blaze, even 12 hours after it ignited. Mayor Sadiq Khan said many questions must be answered about safety for the scores of other apartment blocks around the British capital.

"Currently, we're focusing on helping those residents and London Fire Brigade is investigating the safety of the tower's structure but we will issue a further statement in due course", said Robert Black, the company's chief executive. "The fire started on the upper floors. oh my goodness, it spread so quickly".

The witness said the caring mum wrapped the baby in what seemed like a sheet or blanket and threw the young baby out of the window.

Edward Daffarn, a 55-year-old who lived on the building's 16th floor, said the fire alarm didn't ring.

"People were starting to appear at the windows, frantically banging and screaming", she said. "A lot of people said 'Help, help, help.' The fire brigade could only help downstairs". It was fire up, up, up. "You can't get away from a fire on the 18th floor, but God's grace, they got away".

"I could hear them screaming for their lives", she said.

Residents who escaped told harrowing stories of seeing their neighbours trapped in their apartments as the flames advanced towards them. There was heavy smoke in the hallway.

"I grabbed my little girl and ran down the stairs", he said.

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

Witness Samira Lamrani said she saw a woman try to save a baby by dropping it from a window "on the ninth or 10th floor". Hassad says she believes one of her friend's daughters is in the hospital, but didn't know which one.

The building, Grefnell Tower, is located in one of London's poshest areas, home to celebrities, politicians and wealthy foreigners. People who live nearby were evacuated, some carrying pets in their arms as they left.

In this image taken by eyewitness Gurbuz Binici, a huge fire engulfs the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England.

Helicopters hovered overhead. Exhausted firefighters sprawled on the pavement just inside the police cordon, drinking water from plastic bottles.

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".

Actor and writer Tim Downie, who lives around 600 metres from the scene, said he feared the block could collapse. He said residents had complained for years to Kensington and Chelsea Council about the building's safety, to no avail. You couldn't see a thing. "I wrapped the little one up because of the smoke and I just got them out", the BBC quoted him as saying.

Grenfell Tower is part of the sprawling Lancaster West Estate, an enclave of social housing managed privately on behalf of the London Borough of Kensignton and Chelsea.

On Wednesday morning, the Grenfell Action Group's web site was updated, with a post on the fire. In 2016 the group raised concerns about whether the emergency exits could become blocked in the event of a large-scale fire.

  • Leroy Wright