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PM May ‘deeply saddened’ by London tower fire

The Latest on the London fire (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s office says the leader is “deeply saddened” by the devastating fire that engulfed a high-rise apartment block in west London.

May’s office at Downing Street says in a statement that the leader is “deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the Grenfell Tower and is being kept constantly updated on the situation.”

In Germany, a spokeswoman for Angela Merkel says the chancellor received the news “with great sadness.”

Police say six people have died in the blaze that broke out at the 24-story tower block around midnight Wednesday and the fatality figure is expected to rise.

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12:10 p.m.

London’s Ambulance Service says 74 people are being treated following a massive apartment blaze in west London.

Paul Woodrow, the head of operations, says that 20 of those patients are in critical condition. He said that the patients were being treated for a range of injuries and smoke inhalation.

Police said that six people have died in the blaze, which broke out after midnight Wednesday at Grenfell Tower, an apartment block housing 120 homes.

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11:20 a.m.

London’s Metropolitan Police say six people have died in the devastating fire that engulfed a west London apartment block. Police say the number is expected to rise.

Police commander Stuart Cundy says he can “confirm six fatalities at this time but this figure is likely to rise during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days.”

Cundy says many others are receiving medical care.

Some 50 people are being treated in hospitals after a massive fire set a 24-story apartment block in west London ablaze overnight.

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11:10 a.m.

London’s Fire Brigade says that a structural engineer and urban search and rescue crews have assessed the stability of the burning tower block in west London and believe it is not in danger of collapsing.

The brigade says “it is safe for our crews to be in there.” It added the cause of the massive fire is not known at this stage.

The 24-story apartment block was still engulfed in thick black smoke Wednesday morning some 10 hours after a fire first broke out. An unknown number of people have died and about 50 others were sent to hospitals.

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11 a.m.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan says questions need to be answered about tower blocks around the city following a devastating fire.

Khan had been called to respond after reports that people had been advised in advance to remain in their flats in the event of fire.

Khan says in a statement “there will be a great many questions over the coming days as to the cause of this tragedy and I want to reassure Londoners that we will get all the answers.”

A blaze at a 24-story apartment block broke out around midnight, and parts of the building were still ablaze some nine hours later on Wednesday morning. Some 50 people were injured and several died.

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10:30 a.m.

A witness says she saw a member of the public catch a baby that was dropped from the burning tower block in west London.

Samira Lamrani told Britain’s Press Association she saw a woman try to save the baby by dropping it from a window “on the ninth or 10th floor.”

She says “people were starting to appear at the windows, frantically banging and screaming. 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.”

A blaze broke out in the early hours in the tower block. Some 50 people were injured, and authorities say people have died but it is unclear how many.

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9 a.m.

A survivor of the massive high-rise apartment fire in London says he’s lucky to be alive.

Edward Daffarn says he was on the 16th floor and heard a neighbor’s smoke alarm go off and another neighbor called and told him to get out. He says there was heavy smoke in the hallway and he couldn’t find the stairs.

He says tenants have been complaining for years about issues at the building.

The Grenfell Action Group, a community organization formed to oppose a nearby redevelopment project, has been warning about the risk of fire there since 2013. The group says on its blog that it has raised concerns about testing and maintenance of firefighting equipment and blocked emergency access to the site.

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8:30 a.m.

London Ambulance Service says 50 people have been taken to five hospitals following a major fire in a high-rise residential building.

The service says a major incident has been declared in the west London after a fire broke out in the early hours of the morning. The building was engulfed quickly, and London’s fire commissioner says there have been “a number” of fatalities.

Stuart Crichton, the Ambulance Service’s assistant director of operations, says 100 medics are on the scene, together with ambulance crews and advanced trauma teams.

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7:50 a.m.

London’s fire commissioner says there have been a number of fatalities in a high-rise fire in west London.

Commissioner Dany Cotton calls the fire an “unprecedented incident” and says she has never seen anything on this scale in her 29-year career. She says firefighters are still working and she can’t say how many people may have died. At least 30 people have been taken to hospitals.

Fire raced through the 24-floor Grenfell Tower in North Kensington around 1 a.m.

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7:30 a.m.

Police have turned a church near the scene of a massive west London high-rise fire into a makeshift center for evacuees.

A woman showed up in tears looking for her sister, who lived in the 24-story building that caught fire. Officials did not have any information to give her. They say 30 people have been taken to hospitals but it’s not clear if people are still trapped.

Many people at St. Clement’s church are in wheelchairs and have been brought from adjacent buildings that were evacuated by firefighters because of fears the fire might spread.

Hugo Zarey, who lives in one of the other buildings, says he could hear the commotion outside when police pounded on his door and ordered him to leave.

He says it was frightening but people are being cared for well.

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6:35 a.m.

The London Ambulance service says 30 people have been taken to five hospitals after a massive fire at a high-rise apartment building in west London.

Ambulance officials say crews remain on scene as firefighters continue to battle the blaze in the 24-story building. It is not clear if people are trapped inside. Hours after the fire broke out, a plume of smoke can be seen from miles away.

The fire started around 1 a.m. London time and spread quickly through the building. More than 20 ambulance crews were on the scene, along with 200 firefighters and 45 fire engines.

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4:30 a.m.

London ambulance services are responding to a major fire burned in west London.

The London Ambulance Service said it has sent 20 ambulance crews to respond to a London apartment building fire Wednesday morning. Metropolitan Police said earlier that two people were being treated for smoke inhalation. An updated figure was not available.

The fire involved nearly every floor of the 24-story building.

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This story has been corrected by removing reference to 15 being treated for smoke inhalation, which was information from an older incident.

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4 a.m.

Metropolitan Police in London say they’re continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London.

The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 24th floor of the building.

The cause of the fire is not yet known. It’s also not clear whether people are trapped.

Assistant Commissioner Dan Daly says on the London Fire Brigade’s Facebook page that it’s a large and very serious fire.

He says firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle the fire.

Forty fire engines and 200 firefighters and officers have been called to the scene.

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2 a.m.

Firefighters were battling a massive fire in a London apartment high-rise early Monday morning. One side of the building appeared to be in flames, and 45 fire engines and 200 firefighters were called to the scene.

The London Fire Brigade tweeted that the fire involved the second to the top floor of the 24-story building.

The building is the Grenfell Tower in the North Kensington area.

The Metropolitan Police said two people were being treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and cordons were in place.

George Clarke, the presenter of “Amazing Spaces,” told Radio 5 Live he was covered in ash even though he was 100 meters (yards) from the scene.

He said he saw people waving flashlights from the top levels of the building and saw rescuers “doing an incredible job” trying to get people out.

At least six people were killed in a massive fire that engulfed a 27-story apartment building in west London early Wednesday, police said Wednesday.

Around 30 people were taken to hospital, said London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton. The cause of the fire is unknown at the time.
One side of the building was totally blackened, with heavy smoke billowing into the air. Naked flames have been extinguished.

Xinhua correspondent at the scene said he could smell a burning odor as a police copter was hovering above.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared the fire a “major incident.”
A local resident who called herself Saha told local radio that she woke up at around 1:30 a.m. local time (0030 GMT), because of the sounds of sirens and people shouting for help.

“We came outside and we just saw that half of the building was in flames and it was slowly seeping up the other side and there were people signalling their lights on and off,” she said.

The Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate, built in the 1970s and renovated several times, contains 120 homes.

It is feared that many have been trapped inside the blazing building, as the fire broke out on early Wednesday.
Local reports cited witnesses as saying that they saw people jumping from the building to escape the fire, and they heard screams for help.

Other eyewitnesses said there have been fears the residential building could collapse.
The London Ambulance Service said earlier that it sent “a number of resources.” Currently, there are 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters tackling the fire.

London Ambulances’ hazardous environments team has also rushed to the scene.
The Metropolitan Police have closed major road A40 and asked people to avoid the area, so as to allow emergency services to get to the scene.

Police received report of the fire at the building at 1:16 a.m. local time (0016 GMT).
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.

“Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in (the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea).”

Although the cause of the fire is not yet clear, some residents have pointed to plastic cladding, which can be found on the ground, as a possible cause.
Claims have also emerged online that residents at the tower block had been warned last year that their building had a risk of fire.

The building underwent a 10 million-pound refurbishment as part of a wider transformation of the estate last year.
An interviewee told local radio that the fire started at the fourth floor, but the smoke alarms had not gone off.

-(Xinhua) 

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