‘Major Incident’: London Apartment Tower Erupts in Flames, At Least 30 Hurt
Hundreds of rescue personnel were at the scene of a mammoth fire at a residential tower in West London on Wednesday, police said. Authorities said 30 people were taken to hospitals.
Police, fire and ambulance crews raced to Grenfell Tower, part of the Lancaster West housing estate about a mile northwest of Kensington Palace.
The London Fire Brigade said it had sent 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters to battle the inferno, which it said was reported at 12:54 a.m. Wednesday local time (7:54 p.m. ET Tuesday).
The London Ambulance Service said Wednesday morning that it took 30 patients to five London hospitals. It said more than 20 ambulances were dispatched to the scene. Earlier, London’s Metropolitan Police Service said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries".
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Twitter that the fire had been declared a "major incident."
"This is a large and very serious incident and we have deployed numerous resources and specialist appliances," Assistant Fire Commissioner Dan Daly said in a statement. No cause had been determined.
"We wake up early sometimes anyway in the night, and one of my relatives saw the flames from the window and heard the people screaming," Ousama Itani, who lives in the area, told NBC News.
"It just started to burn across from one side to the other, and we saw apartment after apartment getting lit up into flames," Itani said.
Flames and smoke billow as firefighters battle a major fire in a residential tower Monday in West London.
Scores of passersby posted video of the giant blaze on social media, many of them also saying they could hear residents screaming for help from their windows. The BBC’s London radio service said the fire could be seen from vantage points across the city.
Police said the 120-unit tower was being evacuated. Cordons were erected to seal off the scene, and people were urged to avoid the area. Thirty adjacent apartments were also evacuated, the fire brigade said. Police said the A40 road was closed in both directions.
"We saw the people screaming," Nassima Boutrig, who lives opposite the building, told The Associated Press. "A lot of people said ‘Help, help, help.’ The fire brigade could only help downstairs. It was fire up, up, up. They couldn’t stop the fire."
Grenfell Tower was recently totally refurbished, according to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the local governing authority.
According to Rydon, the architectural firm that carried out the renovation, Grenfell Tower is 24 stories tall. Fire authorities, however, described it as a 27-story building.
Police and rescue services operate near the fire at the Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, London on June 14, 2017.