'I Saw Families Screaming': Witnesses Recount London High-Rise Inferno As Casualties Mount

Rebecca Barbier
Junho 15, 2017

On Wednesday morning a huge fire swept through a high-rise apartment building in west London, killing at least six people and injuring more than 70 people residing at Grenfell Tower.

The fire, which was believed to have begun on one of the lower floors of the 120-unit building, was still burning as of noon in London, some 11 hours after it began. These provide water to firefighters when there's an emergency.

The building was engulfed quickly, and London's fire commissioner said there were "a number" of fatalities.

It is the largest tower on the Lancaster West estate, which includes three further blocks, outdoor walkways, and green spaces.

"To any of the 100's of FAMILIES affected by this awful fire at Grenfell Tower Notting Hill today, You are all welcome to come hang out in my restaurant and be fed and watered by my Jamie's Italian team", the celebrity chef posted.

Use the stairs, not the lift, when leaving the building in the event of a fire.

During the night, eyewitnesses said they saw lights - thought to be mobile phones or torches - flashing at the top of the block of flats, and trapped residents coming to their windows - some holding children. Some feared the charred tower block might collapse, but a structural engineer said the building was not in danger, according to the London Fire Brigade, which added "it is safe for our crews to be in there".

"We will co-operate with the relevant authorities and emergency services and fully support their inquiries into the causes of this fire at the appropriate time".

A survivor of the massive high-rise apartment fire in London acknowledged that he was lucky to be alive.

Sajad Jamalvatan, a 22-year-old biomedical engineering student, was at a movie at the nearby Westfield shopping center with his sister when his mom called to say their building was on fire.

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"This matter is of particular concern as there is only one entry and exit to Grenfell Tower during the improvement works", it said. It was built in 1974 by Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council, and refurbished in 2014-2016 for a total of GBP 10 million. Daffarn said residents had complained for years to Kensington and Chelsea Council about the building's safety, to no avail.

KCTMO, which stands for Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization, is the group that runs public housing on behalf of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the west London area where the fire broke out.

Grenfell Tower is surrounded by some of London's most desired areas, home to celebrities, politicians and wealthy foreigners. We were watching people dying.

At St. Clement's Church, where evacuees gathered, Hadra Hassad was trying to find one of her closest friends, who lived on the 21st floor.

Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said: "Sadly I can confirm that there are now 12 people that have died that we know of".

"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.

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

Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was devastated by the horrific scenes, attended by more than 250 firefighters and 100 ambulance medics.

One local man, David Phippen, said he was woken by residents of Grenfell shouting for help, and saw the lights were still on in one side of the building while the other side was in flames. "A lot of people said 'Help, help, help.' The fire brigade could only help downstairs". And after that at around 4 o'clock, the fire brigade said "we can't go in there any more, there is no chance".

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