Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

London high-rise death toll rises to 12; more feared dead

London high-rise death toll rises to 12; more feared dead

"I got up and looked out of my window and saw the seventh floor smoking", he said.

Entire families are missing, and the death toll is certain to rise after flames tore through the 120-unit Grenfell Tower in the early hours of Wednesday when most people were asleep.

The 24-storey tower underwent a multi-million pound renovation project which was completed previous year - but had no sprinkler system installed and residents raised safety concerns.

She added: I did see a few people jump.

A witness says he believes some people were saved Muslims observing Ramadan were still up when the fire broke out after midnight and were able to alert residents. Chellat said he rang again about half an hour later. The cause of the fire is under investigation, and authorities have refused to speculate on what could have started the blaze. London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: "In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never ever seen anything of this scale".

David Collins, former chairman of the Grenfell Tower Residents' Association, said the building's management had failed to listen to residents' calls for improvements on fire safety. Some 200 firefighters have been tackling the blaze and they have rescued about 65 people.

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"As I was going down the stairs, there were firefighters, truly fantastic firefighters that were actually going upstairs, to the fire, trying to get as many people out the building as possible", he told the BBC.

"The fire just raged on and all of us were praying that the building would not collapse as it is in the midst of a densely populated area".

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 past year.

A bystander, Samira Lamrani, said she saw a baby thrown from a ninth or 10th floor window. "Also, the fire escape plan for the building told residents to stay in their apartments behind supposedly fire safe doors". "A gentleman ran forward and managed to grab the baby".

Waewta Supareuksanon, 62, shared an apartment on the tenth floor with four Thai family members.

"This is going to be a long and complex recovery operation and I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12", Metropolitan Police Cmdr. Also 18 of the 74 injured are critical.

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The London Fire Brigade said it received the first reports of the blaze at 12:54 a.m. and the first engines arrived within six minutes.

Witnesses described a white, polystyrene-type material falling like snow from the building as it burned.

Police in London say at least a dozen people have died in a huge fire that engulfed a 24-storey apartment block on Wednesday. Others leapt from high floors rather than succumb to the flames. "If an event like this occurs, I have to escape first", she added.

He said regulations for tall buildings were meant to prevent the spread of fire, so if it does occur, "the consequences are often catastrophic".

"I was just screaming at people: "Get out, get out" and they were screaming back at me: "We can't, the corridors are full of smoke", he told BBC Radio.

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