Twelve dead in Grenfell Tower blaze

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise

The death toll in a high-rise apartment fire in west London rose to 12 and the number is expected to rise, police said Wednesday. "At its height, pretty much the entire building appear to be ablaze, with huge flames of several hundred feet running up the side of the tower", he says.

Most of the resident living at the Grenfell Tower were still searching for friends and relatives who lived in the 24-storey building. "It just reminded me of 9/11", said Muna Ali, 45.

The fire burned uncontrolled for hours. - 125 families live in the building, which also has a children's nursery.

The blaze started around 1 a.m. London time, and smoke was still pouring from the building more than six hours later.

Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization said in a statement "it is too early to speculate what caused the fire and contributed to its spread".

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: "In my 29 years with London Fire Brigade I have never seen a fire of this nature".

London Ambulance said it had sent a "number of resources" to the scene, including its Hazardous Area Response Team.

Witnesses described "horrible scenes" as firefighters battled the inferno at Grenfell Tower in the Lancaster West estate near Ladbroke Grove.

Some feared the charred tower block might collapse, but a structural engineer said the building was not in danger, the fire brigade said. "Also, the fire escape plan for the building told residents to stay in their apartments behind supposedly fire safe doors".

She told LBC, "One woman actually threw her son out of the window". When no one came to help, she chose to escape on her own, the woman said.

Mr Cundy added: "Whilst we may have accessed every floor that is not the same as a full search of the whole building, and as I said while we now sadly have 12 fatalities, I do believe that figure will rise and sadly I don't anticipate that there will be further survivors".

"There were no fire alarms", said Edward Daffarn 55, who was warned by a neighbor to flee. She only learned of the fire when a neighbor called her.

"I sat there watching my house burn down and watching people cry for help who couldn't come down", she said.

"They literally just jumped ..."

Andre Barroso, 33, said, "Muslims played a big part in getting a lot of people out".

Survivors said they saw the flames outside their windows, rising up the exterior of the building, which had recently been covered in cladding during a major refurbishment finished a year ago.

Tia Abrahams, who lives close to the scene, got there before the fire service. The London Fire Brigade said it rescued 65 people.

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