12 people died in the huge fire that engulfed a London Grenfell tower block in north Kensington

Police launch criminal probe into London Grenfell Tower fire.

LONDON, Jun 15: At least 12 people died in the huge fire that engulfed a London tower block today and the toll is likely to rise further, police said. “Sadly I can confirm that there are now 12 people who have died, that we know of, this is going to be a long and complex recovery operation and I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12,” Police Commander Stuart Cundy told reporters. More than 200 firefighters, backed up by 40 fire engines, fought for hours to try to bring the Grenfell Tower block blaze – one of the most treacherous seen in London for a generation – under control.

Main points

  • Twelve dead, 18 in critical care after 79 taken to hospital
  • Grenfell Tower inferno a ‘disaster waiting to happen’ 
  • ‘The whole building has gone’: Witnesses tell of horrific scenes
  • Children and elderly among the missing after London fire
  • ‘Blitz spirit’: Community centres overwhelmed with donations
  • What caused the blaze? The theories fire chiefs will examine
  • Residents claim safety warnings in 2014 ‘fell on deaf ears’
  • Police number for concerned relatives: 0800 0961 233

Accounts of a neighbour

Actor and writer Tim Downie, who lives around 600 metres from the scene in Latimer Road, told the Press Association he feared the block could collapse.

He said: “It’s horrendous. The whole building is engulfed in flames. It’s gone. It’s just a matter of time before this building collapses.

“It’s the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen. I just hope they have got everyone out.

“The first I knew was the noise of sirens, helicopters and shouting. I saw it engulfed in flames.

“People have been bringing water, clothes, anything they’ve got to help, out to the cordon.

“I have seen people coming out in their bedclothes – it’s just very distressing.”

Nearly £1 million has been raised to help those affected as fire tore through the 24-storey building while volunteers and charities helped with feed and shelter people who could not return to their homes overnight.

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised a “proper investigation” after the building went up in flames early on Wednesday morning amid growing concerns about how the fire could have spread so rapidly.

Speaking in Downing Street, Mrs May said: “When it’s possible to identify the cause of this fire, then of course there will be proper investigation and if there are any lessons to be learnt they will be, and action will be taken.”

London Ambulance Service said paramedics had taken more than 50 patients to five hospitals.

Police have issued a statement on the fire currently blazing in west London, saying it is “likely to take some time” to ascertain its cause. 

 

Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said: “I can confirm there have been a number of fatalities and others receiving medical care. We will be soon making contact with next of kin.

The force said it was “likely to take some time before we are in a position to confirm the cause of the fire”.
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