Kids tossed from windows to escape London high-rise blaze

LONDON (AP) - With smoke still swirling around the charred remains of Grenfell Tower in west London, residents and community leaders demanded to know Wednesday how a ferocious fire could have swept through the high-rise apartment block with such speed that it killed at least 12 people.

Emergency services are continuing a "long and complex operation" in the building, and the "incredibly challenging" task of confirming how many people are missing.

At its peak, there were more than 250 London firefighters, with more than 40 fire trucks, an army of paramedics and fleets of ambulances.

Petrified residents were seen throwing themselves and their children out of windows to avoid being burned to death - others made ropes by tying bed sheets together or used them as makeshift parachutes and jumped. Help! Help!' The fire brigade could only help downstairs.

The fire, according to emergency services, began at night.

"All of these are questions which must be answered, if for no other reason than because there are many, many other tower blocks across London and across the country", he said.

The British company that carried out the tower's 2016 refurbishment, Rydon, said in a statement that its work "met all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards". "Most of the people I could see were Muslim". "A lot of people said, 'Help!"

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

A newsletter previous year advised residents that if there was a fire they should initially stay in their homes. Some residents initially feared the fire was also terror-related, although authorities discounted that possibility.

Paul Munakr, who lives on the seventh floor, spoke of his escape.

"This is mass murder and these people need to be put into court for the way they've treated this community", he said at the scene of the blaze.

Sen. Flake, of Arizona, said he took cover in the dugout as the gunman and law enforcement exchanged fire.

A local builder called Alan told LBC radio he had been in the building many times and had noticed the stairwell doors were not properly sealed fire doors.

Britain's government ordered checks at tower blocks going through similar refurbishment amid concerns that renovations at the Grenfell Tower contributed to the spread of the blaze.

Glocking said they had wanted rules to ensure that external insulation underneath cladding on tower blocks was fire resistant. "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.

Noises outside then appear to alert the women to other residents trapped on the top floors of the north Kensington building, before they beckon them into their flat.

Grenfell Tower is managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation on behalf of the local council.

A blog post on the Grenfell Action Group blog past year warned about a potential fire risk caused by rubbish being allowed to accumulate during the works.

After the fire, the group posted: 'All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time'. Carrying bags of food and water, they trod through the vast black debris which spread as far as the eye could see. "We always take all concerns seriously and these will form part of our forthcoming investigations", it said.

The Kensington and Chelsea Council promised a full investigation into Wednesday's tragedy and a public accounting.

The number of people who died in a massive fire that engulfed a London tower block rose to 12 on Wednesday afternoon.

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