Firefighters battling massive blaze in London high-rise

The damaged remains of a fire at Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey apartment block in North Kensington, London, Britain, 14 June 2017.

The London Fire Brigade said 45 fire engines and 200 firefighters were called to the scene.

"Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower in London and our colleagues from London Fire Brigade and all the emergency services working in hard conditions to deal with this tragic incident", she said.

Some people were trapped in the fire, with residents desperately shouting for help from windows on upper floors as the fire spread, some British media reported. "Also, the fire escape plan for the building told residents to stay in their apartments behind supposedly fire safe doors". Some were evacuated in their pajamas.

Jamie's heartfelt gesture comes amid reports that at least 6 people died in the blaze while more than 60 others are now said to be in hospital - 20 of whom are thought to have life threatening burns and injuries.

But residents say the fire alarm didn't ring Wednesday, and that they had complained for years to local authorities about building safety in vain.

The London Ambulance Service has confirmed that more than 50 people have been taken to hospitals over London.

Construction firm Rydon, which completed a refurbishment of the tower in 2016, said the work "met all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards".

Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization said in a statement "it is too early to speculate what caused the fire and contributed to its spread".

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The blaze started around 1 a.m. London time, and smoke was still pouring from the building more than six hours later. "What we can't have is a situation where people's safety is put at risk because of bad advice being given or, if it is the case, as has been alleged, of tower blocks not being properly serviced or maintained", Khan said.

The apartment block was built in 1974.

"I grabbed a little girl, grabbed my girlfriend, run out of the house just in a pair of boxer shorts and a dressing gown", Paramasivan said.

"In light of these tragic events, we will now be going door to door in all of our tower blocks to provide reassurance to our residents and remind them of the fire protection and safety arrangements for each individual block created to keep them safe". Firefighter experts say that the blaze was unlike anything they had ever seen.

Photos showed the building totally engulfed in fire during the early morning hours. "It's so heartbreaking, I've seen someone flashing their torches at the top level and they obviously can't get out".

Samira Lamrani told the newspaper that she saw a woman attempt to save her baby by dropping it from the 9th or 10th floor to people on the ground below. It said the causes of the fire would be fully investigated.

Fire crews from North Kensington, Kensington, Hammersmith and Paddington and from surrounding fire stations are in attendance.

  • Jon Douglas