A number of people died and 50 others were taken to five London hospitals after a huge fire engulfed Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road near Notting Hill. The fire broke out around 1.29am, but no one knows what has caused it. 

Residents speculate that it might have started on the lower floor and spread quickly to the rest of the apartment building. Witnesses reported that people were trapped in the fire, while others said that they saw people jumping from the 17th or 18th floor at around 2.30 and 3.30am.  The tower is 24 floors high and has 120 apartments.  Many flats in the nearby vicinity were evacuated after falling debris. 

40 fire engines and more than 200 firefighters have been tackling the fire in an incident that has been described “large and very serious.” The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has called it a “major incident,” while the Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said that this was an “unprecedented incident.”

Khan, speaking to Radio 4’s Today Programme, said: “One of the concerns that we have is it’s a 24-storey building but for obvious reasons, with the scale of the fire, our experts weren’t able to reach all the way to the top, so of course these are questions that need to be answered as soon as possible. It’s very distressing, not just for those of us watching as lay people, but also very distressing for the emergency services.” He also said that “We declared a major incident very early, which meant not just the fire service but also the London ambulance service, the police and the others were involved at the scene.”

Paul Woodrow, from the London ambulance service, says 100 medics are at the scene and confirmed that 50 people have been taken to hospital.

Grenfell Tower: Renovation project in question

Grenfell Tower was built in 1974 and refurbished recently. According to two residents, “During the refurbishments we already knew that a disaster like this could happen anytime, but corruption thrives at an alarming level in K&C. It’s all about whitewashing money through “projects” at the cost of people’s lives. We are abroad on holidays, lucky escape.”

Other residents of Grenfell Tower told the Guardian that the building didn’t have any fire alarms. Witnesses have also reported how rapidly the fire spread: “The fire hit the outside of the building... and as soon as it did that it went straight up,” Sajad Jamalvatan, a resident of the Tower said.

Another eyewitness said: “If you had been here at 1.30 you would see it spreading rapidly... I’ve never seen a fire spread as quickly like that.”

According to plans and drawings of the Grenfell Tower refurbishment project, there was only one stair access to the upper floors.

The A40 Westway has been closed and, according to Transport London, there is no service on the Circle and Hammersmith and City lines between Hammersmith and Edgware Road.

Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan police is calling for people to keep away from the area. If anyone is concerned about family and loved ones, the emergency number to call is: 0800 0961 233.