Science

London tower fire: 'People jumped out of their windows'

Terrified residents of the Grenfell Tower said there was little warning of the inferno that engulfed their high-rise apartment building and left 12 people dead - a toll that officials said would nearly certainly rise.

London-born Adele was spotted with her husband, Simon Knecki, attending a vigil in the area of the Grenfell Tower, where a massive fire killed at least 12 people. However, residents of the tower had expressed concerns over the safety of the building, specifically pointing to fire risks, according to a website run by the "Grenfell Action Group".

"This is an unprecedented incident", Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton told reporters. "It had completely spread within half an hour".

Edward Daffarn, a 55-year-old who lived on the building's 16th floor, said the fire alarm didn't ring.

"They were saying apparently the fire was caused by a fridge freezer, don't know how true that it is but the way the fire spread from the fourth floor all the way up was just scary", she said. The fire started when many people would have been asleep.

"I met with the fire chief and the deputy fire chief to just see if there was anything based on information is there anything we should learn from what we have seen", he said.

High-rise buildings are typically created to contain fire outbreaks within floors, so it is often safer to stay in an apartment unaffected by a blaze.

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Grenfell Tower was recently upgraded at a cost of 8.6 million pounds ($11 million), with work finishing in May 2016. "Usually, when there is a fire in a residential building, residents gather below in groups". The cause of the fire has not yet been announced. Firefighters rescued 65 people from the building.

Eyewitness Samira Lamrani told HuffPost UK of seeing a frantic mother throw her baby from the ninth floor of the Grenfell Tower into the arms of a man waiting below. Witness Jody Martin said: "I watched one person falling out, I watched another woman holding her baby out in the window... hearing screams". Help! Help!' The fire brigade could only help downstairs.

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

"We really need people to change their behaviour", Pegg said.

A newsletter put out by the building's tenant organization told tenants to follow a "stay put" policy and remain in their apartments during a fire unless the blaze was inside their apartment or in their hallway or until they were told to evacuate by officials. "I consider this mass murder", he said of the blaze. Witnesses described flames climbing the 24-storey building within 15 minutes.

Adele's presence at Grenfell Tower was soon picked up on by her legions of fans, however.

Residents also warned that site access for emergency vehicles was "severely restricted". London Mayor Sadiq Khan said a lot of residents are still unaccounted for.



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