Several people confirmed dead after a huge inferno broke out at a residential tower block in West London
Dozens are feared dead today after an inferno believed to have started when a fridge exploded ripped through a 27-storey west London tower block in just 15 minutes.
Residents were seen throwing themselves and their children out of windows to avoid being burned to death – others made makeshift ropes by tying sheets together as fire engulfed Grenfell Tower in White City at 1am today.
But a baby tossed from the ‘ninth or 10th floor’ of the building housing 600 people was caught by a member of the public and survived with only broken bones and bruises, a witness has said.
The trapped, some of whom are still inside, were heard begging for their lives while waving white towels, torches and mobile phones to attract the attention of the 200 firefighters who started storming the building within six minutes of the 999 call.
One White City resident called Tamara told the BBC: ‘There were people just throwing their kids out saying “Save my children”. Within another 15 minutes the whole thing was up in flames and there were still people at their windows shouting “Help me”. You could see the fire going into their houses and engulfing the last room that they were in.’
Those who managed to flee said it was ‘like hell on earth’ inside and compared the disaster to the 9/11 attack – and also revealed there was no working fire alarm, sprinklers failed and the only staircase out was blocked.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has also demanded to know why Grenfell residents were told to ‘stay put’ in their flats for up to an hour in the event of a fire.
Dany Cotton, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said there had been ‘a number of fatalities’ and structural engineers are checking the stability of the building, which appears to have warped.
London Ambulance Service said 50 people are in hospital and paramedics are treating many more walking wounded for smoke inhalation and minor burns.
Many residents who gathered outside the smoldering ruins of the building said the fire had been caused by a faulty fridge in one of the flats, but the fire service told MailOnline it could not confirm the reports at this stage
More than 600 residents desperately tried to escape the flames as the fire broke out in the middle of the night, with many woken by the screams of others and the smell of burning plastic
A woman covered in ash is comforted by others as she looks on while the enormous fire rages through the night and into the morning
The cordon around the block has been pushed back by police and homes surrounding it evacuated amid fears that the building could collapse in the densely populated area of London
At least one resident is still stuck inside the block on the 11th floor, with firefighters still desperately trying to reach him
Dany Cotton, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said there had been ‘a number of fatalities’ following a ‘unprecedented incident’ that she described as the largest in scale that she had seen in her 29-year career
Hundreds of people have been left homeless after the blaze, with community centres opening their doors to those affected
Several people have been confirmed dead after a huge inferno broke out at a residential tower block in West London (shown)
A man (circled) looks from a window as smoke pours from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London
A trapped resident looks out from his window as he tries to get the attention of the rescue services. Emergency services asked people to shine torches or their phones from their windows to let them know they were still inside
The heat was said to be so intense that firefighters (shown) were unable to get close to the building, which was built in 1974 – they took shifts to rush the building because they were using oxygen tanks