London fire: Six killed as Grenfell Tower engulfed
Six people have been confirmed dead after a huge fire raged through the night at a west London tower block, and police expect that number to rise.
Eyewitnesses described people trapped in the burning Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington, screaming for help and yelling for their children to be saved.
Firefighters rescued “large numbers”, but London Mayor Sadiq Khan said “a lot” of people were unaccounted for.
The 24-storey block, which is still on fire, looks at risk of collapsing.
Prime Minister Theresa May is “deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life”, said Downing Street.
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.
It is understood that “several hundred” people would have been in the block when the fire broke out shortly after midnight, most of them sleeping.
Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police said: “I can confirm six fatalities at this time but this figure is likely to rise during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days.”
He said it was likely to be some time before police could identify the victims, adding that it was too early to speculate on the cause of the fire.
An emergency number has been set up on 0800 0961 233 for anyone concerned about friends or family.
Seventy-four people have received treatment in hospital. At least 20 are known to be in a critical condition.
Later, police and fire minister Nick Hurd will chair a cross-party meeting to look at how the government can assist the emergency services and local authorities.
By mid-morning, the building looked to be just smoking ruins but the fire has again taken hold, and cladding is falling to the ground.