Eyewitness Tamara told BBC News: ‘You could hear people screaming ‘help me, help me’.
‘There were people throwing their kids out [of windows], they were shouting ‘save my children’. The fire brigade were telling people to stay where they were, they were telling people ‘we’ll come and get you’.’
It was a 27-story apartment building that the fire consumed in just 15 minutes.
How it started is really shocking.
A ‘faulty fridge’ exploded, causing what could be one of the worst fires in British history; in light of fears that no one on the top three floors survived.
So far 12 people have been reported dead from the fire at Grenfell Tower in White City.
Authorities believe that the number will rise well over 50.
The building is still reportedly on fire, so finding the bodies is proving difficult at the moment.
According to residents the flat building had no working fire alarms, no sprinklers and the only staircase leading to safety was blocked.
One community leader helping locate victims believes that no one on the top three floors survived and the home to 600 people may soon collapse.
The anonymous leader said: ‘We have a list of missing people – there are so many. It’s possible there are more than 50, possibly hundreds’.
Today bodies were strewn through the charred block including in its lobby and undertakers were seen removing the dead in a delicate and treacherous recovery operation set to last several days.
Those who managed to flee said it was ‘like hell on earth’ inside as they scrambled over dead bodies in scenes akin to 9/11.
Petrified residents were seen throwing themselves and their children out of windows to avoid being burned to death – others made ropes by tying bed sheets together or used them as makeshift parachutes and jumped.
The local council, the block’s landlord and the contractor used to refurbish the building last year face serious questions about how the fire took hold so quickly in a tower branded a ‘death trap’ by survivors.
With dozens now feared dead or missing and the tower’s management facing a possible gross negligence manslaughter case it has emerged:
- At least 12 people have died, 74 are in six London hospitals including 20 in a critical condition after Grenfell Tower blaze started at 1am;
- Dozens more are feared dead or missing with one source claiming total could run into the hundreds. The Casualty Bureau number is 0800 0961 233;
- Trapped residents begged to be rescued while waving white towels, torches and mobile phones after being urged to stay in their flats;
- Petrified people were seen throwing themselves and their children out of windows – a baby tossed from the ‘9th or tenth floor’ was caught and survived – but the mother’s fate is unknown
- 200 firefighters with 40 engines needed to tackle ‘unprecedented’ blaze and pulled 65 from inside the blaze – residents claim that fire alarms didn’t work, sprinklers failed and only stairwell used as exit was blocked;
- Residents gave repeated warnings about ‘appalling’ fire safety to landlord Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), whose four bosses earned £650,000 between them last year;
- New plastic rain-proof cladding encasing the building in £10million refurbishment ‘went up like a match’ and helped fire spread quickly from fourth floor to 27th floor – although the contractor insists it was safe;
- Dozens of similar blocks from the 1960s and 1970s refurbished in recent years have the same or similar new cladding – Expertr have said a blaze like this in a tower block was ‘a disaster waiting to happen’
- Local community including celebrities bring food and clothes to crisis centres while others offer the now-homeless places to stay;
Police have said it is not possible to confirm how many people are unaccounted for because the building is still on fire more than 12 hours after it started.
The tower’s own community action group requested the building be demolished about 4 years ago. They had problems with the ‘appalling’ fire safety in the tower.
According to the group, their complaints fell on the ‘deaf ears’ of landlord Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO).
The landlord group had completed a £10million refurbishment last year, but that didn’t seem to matter.
The newly cladded building – built in 1974 – ‘went up like a match’, stated one resident.
A spokesman said: ‘It is too early to speculate what caused the fire and contributed to its spread. We will co-operate fully with all the relevant authorities in order to ascertain the cause of this tragedy.
‘We are aware that concerns have been raised historically by residents. We always take all concerns seriously and these will form part of our forthcoming investigations. While these investigations continue with our co-operation, our core priority at the moment is our residents’.