Grenfell Tower fire leaves 6 dead and over 70 in hospital
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A minimum of six people have died and more than 70 are being treated in hospital after a huge fire broke in Grenfell Tower, north Kensington, around 1am this morning.
Casualties are expected to rise further, since the extensive fire engulfed the full height of the 24-storey block, and burned strongly for more than six hours.
The London fire commissioner, Dany Cotton, said that "In [her] 29 years of being a firefighter [she has] never ever seen anything of this scale."
The tower had risen concerns about fire safety in 2012, when a health and safety review found firefighting equipment had not been checked for up to four years, and in 2016 when a group of residents warned that if the exit were to become blocked in a fire, people would be trapped inside.
A two-year £10m refurbishment was therefore completed by Rydon Construction last year. The new plant included modern exterior cladding, replacement windows and a communal heating system.
Witnesses on the scene have spoken of hearing screams and seeing some people escaping using bedsheets as improvised rope ladders and others jumping from the burning building.
There was a storng Police and the London Fire Brigade presence in the area all night, with heroic officers trying to douse the fire and rescue as many people as possible.
At 4.40 AM this morning policemen were also seen in the nearby buildings urging residents to evacuate.
It is not yet known what was the cause of fire, but Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said "a full investigation will need to be undertaken at the first possible opportunity".
The last bloke fire in the city was in a building In July 2009. Six people were killed and more than 20 injured in a blaze at Lakanal House, a tower block in Camberwell, south-east London.
For those who are looking for relatives or friends following the fire, the police have set up an emergency line at this number: 0800 0961 233.
You find more about how to help here.