Published: Wed, June 14, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

Evacuation underway as enormous fire engulfs London residential building

Two women who live nearby watched the fire break out said they saw people leap from the tower to save themselves. "It wasn't good", she told CNN. "In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never ever seen anything of this scale", she said.

Footage on social media showed the tower block engulfed in fire, with huge flames stretching over several floors.

NHS England said 74 people are being treated in six hospitals across the capital, of whom 20 are in critical care.

He said: "It's horrendous".

The blaze appears to be the worst in London since a 2009 fire in the city's south killed six people, including three children.

"I have seen it with my own eyes".

"The smoke has just slowly engulfed them".

The sounds of sirens and helicopters is non-stop as locals and residents, evacuated from the building, begin to gather outside to watch the blaze. "And I have seen people jump".

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Tia Abrahams lives close to the scene and got there before the fire brigade.

"I've personally witnessed a few people dying tonight".

The fire has totally destroyed the structure and the building is now on the brink of collapse. "By all accounts, it spread quickly". "It's unbearable hearing someone screaming for their lives at #grenfelltower".

George Clarke, the presenter of "Amazing Spaces", told Radio 5 Live he was covered in ash even though he was 100 metres (yards) from the scene.

"I saw the woman later and she was hysterical".

The London Fire Brigade tweeted that the fire involved the second to the top floor of the 24-story building. At least 30 people have been taken to hospitals.

Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Metropolitan Police, said: "All the emergency services and other agencies continue to work together at the scene".

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is visiting the site, said "a lot of people" were unaccounted for and that of the 120 flats in Grenfell Tower, many had four-bedrooms.

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Another neighbour, Zorah Jolly, said her husband woke her at 1.15am and "saw a person jump from the building". In a statement posted to Twitter, London police said people are being treated for a range of injuries.

The cause of the fire is not known at this stage, London Fire Brigade said.

A blog post from Grenfell Action Group in November said "only a catastrophic event" would expose the concerns residents had.

Local residents had warned a year ago about a potential fire risk caused by rubbish being allowed to accumulate during improvement works. Us members of the public were reassuring them, telling them we've done what we can and that we've phoned 999, but obviously the look on their face was death.

He said that after they fled the explosions from the flats included blue flames, suggesting gas.

"... The emergency vehicles I think were finding it hard to get through obviously because of the narrow roads around the area, but also because people were parking in awkward places. There weren't no stopping it".

However, pieces of cladding could be seen on the streets, and some residents complained "cheap flammable" plastic cladding was used.

She said one of her friend's had been stuck in the building until 5am.

While evacuation of the area continues, Police have set up an emergency hotline for anyone anxious about those trapped in the fire, which you can call on 0800 0961 233.

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Do you know anyone affected by the fire?

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