Sikh community helps London blaze survivors

The Grenfell Action Group, a local community organization, had warned about fire safety at the building since 2013, noting concerns about the testing and maintenance of firefighting equipment and blocked emergency access to the site.

The fire at Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate in Latimer Road was reported at 01:16 local time.

While the cause of the fire is unknown, cladding used in the tower during a recent multi-million pound exterior refurbishment enabled flames to spread rapidly, the fire brigade said.

Numerous 600 people thought to be living in the block at the time of the incident are yet to be accounted for.

London fire commissioner Dany Cotton said it would be a "miracle" if anyone else was found alive.

Muslim residents observing Ramadan have been hailed as heroes after they helped save many sleeping neighbours from the horrific Grenfell Tower fire.

17 people have been confirmed dead and almost 20 others are in critical condition.

"We hope and pray that she is amongst them [in hospital] and not perished in that building as I suspect hundreds will have done by the end of this count", he said.

A resident who ignored that advice is Mickey Paramasivan, who got his children out of Grenfell after waking up and smelling smoke.

At least 17 people died in Wednesday's high-rise fire in London and firefighters are still searching for others still missing.

The cause of the blaze, the worst in the British capital in a generation, was being investigated.

A large number of material has been taken away for sampling in detailed searches of the flats as evidence is collected along with identification of the people who live in the flats. Authorities admitted on Thursday that the search for those unaccounted for could take weeks. Singer Rita Ora also pitched in, helping to sort donations outside the tower.

"High-rise buildings in France, the UAE and Australia that had similar cladding have all been hit by fires that spread", the BBC reports.

Cotton said that numerous 250 firefighters who tackled the blaze were traumatised by the "horrendous" scenes they found. In one chilling blog post from last November, the Grenfell Action Group warned that only a "catastrophic event" would "bring an end to the risky living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation" at the building.

The group said there was one entry and exit to the tower during improvement works and it had issues with evacuation procedures.

Firefighting crews were still trying to douse flames as they sought to reach the top floors of the building over 10 hours after the fire started.

But a line stating the project had met all "fire regulation and health and safety standards", which was included in an earlier release, had disappeared.

While saying that the process would be "slow and painstaking" because of the severity of the fire, she said there would be internal structures propped up to make sure the floors are secure for forces to search the block.

I know a man who was trapped in the upper floors of that Toronto hotel fire, as he saw flames and smoke from the lower floors blocking his escape.

Messages on a wall for the victims and in support for those affected by the massive fire in Grenfell Tower, in London, Thursday, June 15, 2017.

  • Arturo Norris