Economy

At least 12 dead, 74 injured in London high-rise fire

Residents and campaigners in the London neighbourhood where a tower block went up in a giant blaze on Wednesday spoke angrily about longstanding safety concerns, saying they were ignored because the community was not rich.

A 24-story residential tower in West London was being evacuated early Wednesday as enormous flames engulfed the building, police said.

The Metropolitan Police said a 43-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of sending malicious communications and obstructing a coroner.

Dozens of people have gathered for a vigil in the shadow of the Grenfell Tower.

Asked about reports that residents had been told to stay in their apartments in the event of fire, he said: "Thankfully residents didn't stay in their flats and fled to safety".

Rydon Group, the construction company which undertook the work, also declined to say whether they had been used, but said the revamp "met all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards".

Edward Daffarn, who lived on the 16th floor, said the building's fire alarm didn't ring. "The fire started on the upper floors".

Another woman screams "we're stuck on the 23rd floor.there's too many people stuck upstairs" as the fire ravages the 24-storey building.

Other residents told harrowing tales of their own escapes and frustration at not being able to help neighbors. It's also not clear whether people are trapped. "The building needed to be brought up to date with new kitchens and new heating systems", he said, adding that safety certificates had been issued and the council had been "told it had all been brought up to date".

Earlier in the day he said: 'Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this truly shocking fire at Grenfell Tower'. "A lot of people said, 'Help!"

Cllr Seyi Akiwowo, who set up the collection alongside fellow councillors Rachel Tripp and Rokhsana Fiaz, said that she "wanted to do something to help". I will remain in regular contact with the London Fire Brigade and our other emergency services.

A boxing gym and a nursery are housed in the tower, according to a news release previous year from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. "GoFundMe users are fully protected by the GoFundMe Guarantee (we are the only social fundraising platform to offer this layer of protection which launches this week in the UK), which means funds are guaranteed to go to the right place or they will get a refund".

Neighbors said they could hear people calling for help as the flames spread.

Nassima Boutrig, who lives opposite the building, said she was awakened by sirens and smoke so thick that it filled her home as well.

"In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never ever seen anything of this scale", London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton told reporters. The group has raised concerns about testing and maintenance of firefighting equipment and blocked emergency access to the site.

Mickey Paramasivan, who took his children out of the building after he woke up and smelled smoke, told Ritson they made it out with just a few minutes to spare.

A total of 68 people have been taken to six hospitals with 18 in critical care.

"What we can simply do is look to all that we have seen today which is good, which is fabulous - people getting together".

Angus Law, from the Centre for Fire Safety Engineering at Edinburgh University, said the blaze seemingly had similarities with other recent fires worldwide.



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