Officials said the fire burned through the entire building and stretched from the second to the 27th floor.

Massive fire engulfs 27-storey London apartment 40 fire engines deployedImage: Twitter/London Fire
news News Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - 10:42

Scores of people are feared to have died after a violent fire engulfed a high-rise tower block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Authorities in the UK capital said they were treating a number of victims for a range of injuries, but declined to give any specific numbers. There was no official statement regarding missing persons or the number of potential deaths.

Witnesses reported hearing screams from the building and seeing people at the windows.

'Major incident'

George Clarke, a television presenter living close to scene, told BBC Radio that he saw people on the top floor of the block flashing their torches. "They obviously can't get out," he added.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan described it as a "major incident" in a tweet.

The evacuation of people from the Grenfell Tower block remains ongoing, according to police.

Officials said the fire burned through the entire building and stretched from the second to the 27th floor.

Police said they were called to the scene of the blaze at 1:16 am local time (0016 UTC). The fire service said it had deployed 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines. 

"We are working closely with London Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police with our priority being to get people to safety and ensure they receive medical help as quickly as possible," the London Ambulance Service said in a statement.

However, some reports suggest that the fire even engulfed the tower's fire exit, making any rescue efforts extremely difficult. The cause of the fire is not yet clear.

Prior warnings

Last year, local residents of the public housing building warned authorities that the garbage accumulated during improvement work to the building could pose a fire risk.

"This matter is of particular concern as there is only one entry and exit to Grenfell Tower during improvement works," said a blog post by Grenfell Action Group.

"The potential for a fire to break out in the communal area on the walkway does not bear thinking about as residents would be trapped in the building with no way," the group added.

The building is owned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, a local council.

 

(This article was first published on DW. You can read the original article here.)

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