12 dead in London tower fire15/06/17Government
12 people have died in a west London tower block fire and the number of deaths is expected to rise, police have said.
Firefighters were called to Grenfell Tower in north Kensington at 01:54 (CEST) on 14 June. During the operation they rescued 65 people.
Witnesses said that people were trapped in the tower block and some jumped from windows in efforts to escape the blaze.
Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said: “Sadly, I can confirm that there are now 12 people that have died that we know of.
“I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12.”
It is estimated that seven hundred people would likely to have been in the block when the fire broke out during the night.
A fourth floor resident of Grenfell Tower said: “The whole landing was thick with smoke. The smoke alarms weren’t going off but the way it spread so quickly from the fourth floor, all the way up to the 23rd floor was scary.”
Ambulance services reported that 68 patients were taken to six hospitals across London, where 18 were placed in critical care. A further ten patients were self-admitted to hospital services.
However, many more are unaccounted for. Eyewitnesses said they saw lights – thought to be mobile phones or torches – flashing at the top of the block of flats.
Sarah Corker, a BBC reporter, said that crews worked through until the following night in order to dampen the fire where flames were still visible.
London Fire Brigade said that checks have been performed on the building and have shown that it is not in danger of collapsing.
Grenfell Tower underwent an £8.6m (~€9.8m) refurbishment which was completed in May last year. The refurbishment included the implementation of new exterior cladding and a communal heating system.
Prime Minister Theresa May added that there would be a full investigation and that “if there are any lessons to be learned they will be”.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “We have lots of people in London living in tower blocks. We can’t have peoples’ lives being put at risk because of bad advice or lack of maintenance.”