“Several people” unaccounted for after blaze rips through west London tower block. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared it a “major incident.” Around 30 local flats have been evacuated amid fears the building could collapse. A residents’ group says it repeatedly warned about Grenfell Tower’s fire safety.
A huge blaze has ripped through a 27-story residential tower block in west London, leaving “several people” unaccounted for in the building.
The London Fire Brigade was called to the fire in Kensington, which London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a “major incident,” at around 1:29 a.m. (BST). The cause of the fire is not yet known.
At least 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters have been tackling the blaze at Grenfell Tower. The building is home to hundreds of residents and 30 people have been taken to five local hospitals, according to The London Ambulance Service.
In a statement on Wednesday morning, the Ambulance Service added that 20 crews are on the scene. Staff from London’s air ambulance team travelled to the scene by car.
The BBC reported that “a significant number of people” were unaccounted for. There are images of at least one man appealing for help from his window on the 11th floor. There are reports that the London Fire Brigade has entered the building in a rescue search.
A cordon is in place, the London Fire Brigade said, and 30 adjacent flats have been evacuated. Local roads have also been closed. There are fears that the building could collapse. There are images on television of debris falling from the tower block.
Resident Ahmed Chellat told ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” that his family is still inside the building. “We don’t know where they are, whether they are still in or out. We’re waiting for news,” he said. Chellat said his brother-in-law was advised not to evacuate initially.
As the blaze rages, residents group Grenfell Action Group has blogged about the incident. It said it had “posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards.” It added: “All our warnings fell on deaf ears.”
London Fire Brigade assistant commissioner Dan Daly said firefighters were “working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle this fire.” He added: “This is a large and very serious incident and we have deployed numerous resources and specialist appliances.”
The Grenfell Tower has undergone a major refurbishment recently, according to Kensington and Chelsea Council.“The large-scale works included the installation of insulated exterior cladding, new double glazed windows and a new communal heating system,” it said.
It contains 120 homes and was first built in 1974.
This story is developing