Death toll rises to 12 in London apartment building inferno

"I can not confirm the number at this time due to the size and complexity of this building", she said adding that the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.

Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police, said the death toll had risen from six to 12, and would "sadly increase".

Virginia Sang, 62, said she knows numerous Grenfell Tower residents through her work at a local health centre and had walked past its only entrance hours before the fire started.

Some witness reports say children and a baby were seen being thrown out of windows amid the blaze.

Hundreds of others who escaped the flames have still lost their homes and all of their belongings, but Catholic parishes in the surrounding area have quickly begun receiving donations of food, clothes, and water to be distributed.

Samira Lamrani said she saw a woman try to save a baby by dropping it from a window "on the ninth or 10th floor" to waiting members of the public below. He posted on Instagram to say that the hundreds of families affected by the bad fire could go and hang out at his restaurant to be "fed and watered" by the Jamie's Italian team.

"It's the most terrifying thing I've ever seen".

Residents said they had warned repeatedly over fire safety in the block.

On Wednesday, seventh floor resident Paul Munakr told the BBC: "I managed to get out the building, not by a fire alarm, or something like that, it was by people down below screaming to people, don't jump, don't jump off the building".

Ambulance officials say 78 people were being treated in hospitals across London for a range of injuries and smoke inhalation.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said questions needed to be answered about the safety of tower blocks after some residents said they had been advised they should stay in their flats in the event of a fire.

Mohamed Bouye, a 44-year-old manager, was touring the local community centers in London trying to find his friend who lived on the 18th floor of the building. Government cuts to council budgets have left some local authorities in straitened financial circumstances and unable to spend much on social housing. But he said the speed with which the fire spread suggests that more than one fire protection safeguard failed.

Local councillor Judith Blakeman, who lives opposite the tower, rushed outside when she heard about the blaze at 5am.

"They were three kids, they were banging on the windows, you could see their silhouettes and then bang, it just went up".

Mr Fitzpatrick, who was a firefighter for 20 years, told LBC: 'We've been pressing for fire sprinkler systems in buildings where we think it's appropriate - certainly over a height level and in places where there is vulnerability, care homes and in schools - and Government has been resisting that for some time'.

"We've complained to council", said Edward Daffarn, 55, who said nothing had been done to improve safety.

"We started giving him the liquids, I put pressure on his wound in his hip", Brooks said.

The building was recently upgraded at a cost of £8.6 million (NZ$15 million), with work to modernise the exterior finishing in May 2016.

Outside the Harrow Club, one of the centers offering shelter to residents of the tower, volunteers rushed to help. In a series of blog posts, the group raised concerns about testing and maintenance of fire-fighting equipment and blocked emergency access to the site.

Prime Minister Theresa May promised Wednesday night a full investigation into the cause of the tragedy.

Residents claimed the fire spread on the exterior of the tower, which had been covered in cladding in a major refurbishment completed previous year.

ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.

  • Zachary Reyes