"I can confirm six fatalities at this time but this figure is likely to rise", said police commander Stuart Cundy, describing the fire as "truly shocking". Authorities warned that the death toll may go up as almost 20 of the 70 people warded in hospitals were in critical condition.
As smoke continued to billow from the charred building, survivors voiced anger over longstanding safety fears at the Grenfell Tower, which was home to between 600 and 800 people.
Fire engulfed a 24-storey housing block in central London in the early hours on Wednesday, killing at least fourteen people and injuring at least 50 others in an inferno that trapped residents as they slept. "Forty fire engines and around 200 firefighters went to the scene - but their equipment didn't reach much beyond the 11th floor". Some 100 medics tended the casualties.
"People were still sleeping on the higher floors, they didn't have a clue what was going on, I'm not even sure if half of them got out to be honest with you, there was kids out the window", resident David Benjamin said.More news: May's key ministers hold 'secret talks' with Labour to force soft Brexit
The fire at Grenfell Tower was reported at 01.16 local time. Around an hour later the London Fire Brigade also tweeted that the whole building was in flames, starting from the second floor. "For anyone who lives or works in a high-rise building, there needs to be immediate reassurance that it is either compliant or fire retardant", he said.
'We need to have an audit of all high-rise buildings which have cladding to ensure that it's fire-retardant, meets Australian standards or if it's not, it needs to be removed.' independent senator Nick Xenophon told Sky News on Thursday.
According to Mr Apter, pockets of fire were still blazing at Grenfell Tower this evening, but firefighters have managed to search most of the building.
Many were moved to tears after pausing for moment of silent contemplation outside the Notting Hill Methodist Church in west London.
The building was built in 1974 and had recently been renovated, in 2016.More news: Trump visits lawmaker recovering from shooting at baseball practice in Virginia
A newsletter previous year advised residents that if there was a fire they should initially stay in their homes. I just hope they have got everyone out. "We were just standing screaming and they were screaming".
The Grenfell Action Group has posted an entry on its blog this morning, stating that it has previously raised concerns about fire safety at the tower block.
Rydon, the firm that carried out the refurbishment work, said the project "met all required building regulations", in its latest statement following the fire.
"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 it's been alleged, of tower blocks not being properly serviced and maintained", he told the BBC.More news: Jeff Sessions grilled by Senate Intelligence Committee
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