Economy

Death toll rises to 12 in London blaze

The fire brigade said 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters had been called to the blaze at Grenfell Tower, which has 120 flats.

It has been 24 hours after the high rise social housing building in London went up in flames, with many residents still unaccounted for.

"In my 29 years of being a firefighter I have never ever seen anything of this scale", she said.

A mother of three trapped inside rang a friend to tell her she feared she was about to die.

The blaze early Wednesday in the 24-story building in west London's North Kensington district also injured 74 others, 18 of them critically, and left an unknown number missing.

The death toll was expected to increase, the police and London fire brigade said.

A residents' group said its repeated warnings about fire risks had been ignored. Assistant Fire Commissioner Dan Daly said it was a large and very serious incident.

"The windows were slightly ajar - a woman was gesturing that she was about to throw her baby and if somebody could catch her baby", Lamrani said, according to the BBC.

And actor and writer Tim Downie, who lives nearby, said the block looked close to collapse after being completely gutted.

"I saw multiple families hanging out the windows, and then slowly the flames just engulfed [the other side of the building]". Chellat said he rang again about half an hour later. Witnesses described a white, polystyrene-type material falling like snow from the building as it burned.

The Queensland government says proposed new building laws introduced last month will crack down on potentially flammable building cladding, which is being blamed for London's devastating tower block fire. Ruks Mamudu, 69, escaped from her first floor apartment wearing only her purple pajamas and bathrobe.

"I believe some low-rises can still be un-sprinklered, but the vast majority of our buildings are sprinklered." he said.

Ms Green, who has mentored her friend and fellow artist for four years, added: "She's one of the most attractive, kind and soulful people I've ever met".

He said he saw people waving flashlights from the top levels of the building and saw rescuers "doing an incredible job" trying to get people out. She said, they tell us to stay in. "A lot of people said, 'Help!"

It was determined the Lacrosse fire was started by a cigarette on a cluttered balcony, according a report into the blaze by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. It was fire up, up, up.

The Housing Executive has sought to reassure tenants in Belfast's tower blocks in the wake of the London fire. Some initially feared it was terrorism-related, although authorities have not suggested that terrorism was involved.

Ash Sha, 30, who witnessed the fire and has an aunt in the building who managed to escape from the second floor, said the local council had recently renovated the tower.

Kensington and Chelsea Borough council admitted it had received complaints over the works, after a residents' action group said its warnings about safety had fallen on "deaf ears". "I'm lucky to be alive. I just hope they have got everyone out".

Ian Leahair, a member of the union's executive council, told Sam Delaney: "Judging by what I've seen out there today, I would imagine crews would be there for a considered amount of time, possibly about a week, damping down and going through the wreckage".

A witness to the Grenfell Towers fire has been arrested after he allegedly took pictures of a dead body and posted the images on Facebook.

The Action Group expressed concern about the testing and maintenance of firefighting equipment and blocked emergency access to the site.

He said it was likely to be some time before police are able to identify the victims, and added that it was too early to speculate on the cause of the fire, The Telegraph reported.

The group said there was one entry and exit to Grenfell Tower during improvement works at the block in Latimer Road and it had issues with evacuation procedures at the building.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said questions will need to be answered over the safety of tower blocks across the city.

A police update at approximately 4.00 a.m. BST said residents at Grenfell Tower were still being evacuated.



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