12 dead as in­ferno guts Lon­don tower block

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

LON­DON: Fire en­gulfed a 24-storey hous­ing block in the cap­i­tal in the early hours yes­ter­day, killing at least 12 peo­ple and in­jur­ing 78 oth­ers in an in­ferno that trapped res­i­dents as they slept.

Flames raced through the high­rise Gren­fell Tower block of flats in the Kens­ing­ton area af­ter tak­ing hold about 1am. Wit­nesses re­ported some res­i­dents scream­ing for help from win­dows of up­per floors and oth­ers try­ing to throw chil­dren to safety.

More than 200 fire­fight­ers, backed up by 40 fire en­gines, fought for hours to try to bring the blaze, one of the big­gest seen in cen­tral Lon­don in mem­ory, un­der con­trol.

By mid-day, Lon­don po­lice said six peo­ple had been killed. They cau­tioned the death toll was likely to rise and that there could be peo­ple in the build­ing who are un­ac­counted for. Fire-fight­ing crews still had to reach the top four floors of the build­ing where sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple live in 130 flats.

The cause of the fire, which left the tower block a charred, smok­ing shell, was not im­me­di­ately known.

The block had re­cently un­der­gone mil­lions in re­fur­bish­ment of the ex­te­rior. Res­i­dents rushed to es­cape through smoke-filled cor­ri­dors af­ter be­ing wo­ken up by the smell of burn­ing. The fire en­gulfed all floors from the sec­ond to the top of the 24-storey block. Re­ports said some res­i­dents leapt out of win­dows to es­cape the flames. One woman lost two of her six chil­dren as she tried to es­cape from the block.

PIC­TURE: EPA

Smoke rises from a fire at the Gren­fell Tower apart­ment block in North Kens­ing­ton, Lon­don, yes­ter­day.

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