A huge fire has engulfed a tower block in west London, having broken out in the early hours of Wednesday, leaving several people dead. At the moment Six people have been confirmed dead and over 60 people have been rushed to hospital with 20 of them been put into Critical condition. Witnesses have reported people jumping from the building and people waving touches and flags from high up trying to signal rescuers. The emergency services are expecting the death toll is likely to rise as they make their way thought the building.
Residents say cladding recently added to the building fuelled the fire’s rapid spread. In fact there are reports from the Former chairman of the building’s residents’ association David Collins has told the ABC he and other residents had repeatedly pushed for an investigation into the “incompetent” tenant management organization. “There were fire and security concerns. You look at the Grenfell Action Group (GAG) blog,” he said on Wednesday.
“At the end of 2015, beginning of 2016 we carried out a survey. 90 per cent of residents asked for an independent investigation into the tenant management organization. “68 per cent of residents believed that they had been threatened, harassed, lied to or pressured by the aforementioned organization or its contractors.”
Mr Collins, who moved out of the building in October, 2016, said the risk of fire was only one concern for residents. “At the time fire was down the list (of concerns). They couldn’t even get the floor numbering right. They couldn’t service and have the lifts operable,” he said. “I raised fire concerns with the director of regeneration Peter Maddison, of the current management organization, about the location of boilers that were above fuse boxes. “He refused to investigate and asked me to do it for him.” In a blog post dated January 24, 2016, the GAG said a build-up of rubbish during development works posed a serious fire risk.
The fire gutted the building, with flames soaring from the second floor to the top of the building. Witnesses reported hearing screams from people inside. According to witnesses, the fire appeared to take hold of the building in one corner before engulfing the tower block. The building, in North Kensington, was built in 1974 and contains 120 homes; about 500 people live in the flats. It is reported the fire began on the fourth floor.
Those living in sight of the scene awoke to find smoke pouring from the tower as firefighters continued to pour water on the blackened building. Resident Chloe Busby said she could “still see flames” at 08:00 BST. Questions have begun to arise about what caused the fire and why it spread so rapidly. Another resident told the BBC fire alarms “did not go off”. London fire brigade say they currently have no indication of what caused the fire.
Witnesses have described screams of terror and people jumping in a bid to reach safety after the blaze ripped through Grenfell Tower. One evacuated resident, Tamara, told the BBC, “People were just throwing their kids our saying, ‘Just save my children, just save my children.'” local resident Tim Downie described the scene as “horrendous”. “The whole building is engulfed in flames… It’s the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen. I just hope they have got everyone out.”