Death toll in London residential building fire rises to 12

Xinhua Published: 2017-06-14 11:31:02
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Police confirmed that 12 people have died so far in a massive fire that engulfed a residential building in west London, Sky News reported on Wednesday. 

Huge fire engulfs the building as firefighters battle the blaze, June 14, 2017. [Photo: VCG]

Huge fire engulfs the building as firefighters battle the blaze, June 14, 2017. [Photo: VCG]

The fire was reported at the 24-storey block, Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington, and it is believed to have started on the fourth floor and soon spread to other floors, according to local media. 

A police officer said the death toll will rise, according to Sky News. 

"Following this morning's fire at Grenfell Tower, West London, we treated 68 patients and took them to six hospitals across London, where 18 people are currently in critical care," said London Ambulance Service Director of Operations Paul Woodrow in a statement. 

"We are still on scene supporting London Fire Brigade in the recovery phase of the incident and would urge Londoners to only call us in a genuine emergency and to call NHS 111 for urgent healthcare advice," said Woodrow.

Meanwhile, a spokesman of the London Fire Brigade said that the integrity of the residential building is "a significant issue" and firefighters will be on scene for some time.

So far, emergency services are still searching for residents.

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, June 14, 2017. [Photo: AP/ Matt Dunham]

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, June 14, 2017. [Photo: AP/ Matt Dunham]

The London Fire Brigade said 45 fire engines and 200 firefighters were called to the scene. Assistant Fire Commissioner Dan Daly said it was a large and very serious incident.

"Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle this fire," he said in a post on the brigade's Facebook page.

George Clarke, the presenter of "Amazing Spaces," told Radio 5 Live that he was covered in ash even though he was 100 meters (yards) from the scene.

He said he saw people waving flashlights from the top levels of the building and saw rescuers "doing an incredible job" trying to get people out.

Tim Downie, who lives not far away, told Britain's Press Association that he feared the building could collapse. He said he heard sirens, helicopters and shouting and then saw the building engulfed in flames.

"It's the most terrifying thing I've ever seen. I just hope they have got everyone out," he said. "People have been bringing water, clothes, anything they've got to help, out to the cordon."

AP also contributed to this story.

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