London's Grenfell Tower, built in the 1970s, is 27 stories tall and the subject of years of desperate complaints by its residents concerning safety. Last night it was completely consumed by fire, claiming the lives of at least twelve residents and sending hundreds more to hospital. Witnesses report that they heard no alarms and saw no sprinklers, despite a recent "renovation."
Eyewitnesses described people trapped in the burning Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington, screaming for help and yelling for their children to be saved.
Firefighters rescued "large numbers", but London Mayor Sadiq Khan said "a lot" of people were unaccounted for.
The 24-storey block, which is still on fire, looks at risk of collapsing.
During the night, eyewitnesses said they saw lights – thought to be mobile phones or torches – flashing at the top of the block of flats, and trapped residents coming to their windows – some holding children.
The Grenfell residents association's blog amounts to years of postings, desperately pleading with local government and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation for their lives, in full knowledge that they would soon lose them. It's disgusting and terrifying.
A baby was caught by a member of the public after being dropped from Grenfell Tower as it was engulfed with flames, a witness said.
Samira Lamrani said she saw a woman try to save a baby by dropping it from a window "on the ninth or 10th floor" to waiting members of the public below.
"People were starting to appear at the windows, frantically banging and screaming," she said. "The windows were slightly ajar, a woman was gesturing that she was about to throw her baby and if somebody could catch her baby.
"Somebody did, a gentleman ran forward and managed to grab the baby."
Photo: Reuters / Toby Melville