Several killed as huge blaze engulfs London tower block

Several people are dead after a fire ripped through a high-rise tower block in West London.

The London Fire Brigade said it had rescued 65 people from the building and had now reached all 24 floors, though firefighters were yet to extinguish small flames in hard-to-reach pockets.

"We have treated and taken 64 patients to six hospitals across London, where 20 people are now in critical care", London Ambulance Service's director of operations, Paul Woodrow, said in a statement.

While asking authorities to offer immediate apology to Grenfell resident, the group had said, "There is something seriously wrong with a bureaucracy that is incapable of reacting to serious negligence, affecting fire safetly in a densely occupied tower block, with any sense of urgency".

We have been warning about the risks of a fire like this for years.

"Also, the new front doors for each flat can withstand a fire for up to 30 minutes, which gives plenty of time for the fire brigade to arrive", residents were told in a newsletter in 2014, according to The Guardian.

"And then it was black smoke".

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However, in a blog post dated November 20, 2016, a residents group, the Grenfell Action Group (GAC), highlighted ongoing concerns among residents over the safety of the building, managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization (KCTMO) on behalf of the borough.

Cladding had been added to the outside of the building, blamed by some residents for helping the fire to spread so quickly. "We will cooperate with the relevant authorities and emergency services and fully support their enquiries into the causes of this fire at the appropriate time".

Rydon, the British company that did the refurbishing, said in a statement that its work "met all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards".

A separate post described how people living in the building were advised to stay in their flats in the event of a fire somewhere else in the block and accused the council and its associate's attitude to fire safety as "criminally lax".

He told the BBC: "I watched one person falling out, I watched another woman holding her baby out the window. hearing screams, I was yelling everyone to get down and they were saying "We can't leave our apartments, the smoke is too bad on the corridors".

Residents said they had warned repeatedly over fire safety in the block.

Flames licked up the sides of the block in the north Kensington area as 200 firefighters, backed up by 40 fire engines, fought the blaze for hours. When he stepped out there was suddenly smoke everywhere, the whole corridor was engulfed.

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"They literally just jumped ..."

"I consider this mass murder, " he said of the blaze.

London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton there had been "a number of fatalities" but she could not confirm how many. "We were just standing screaming and they were screaming".

"We predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time", it said. A community blog, Grenfell Action Group, has campaigned for more stringent fire safety standards since 2013, when a auto park adjacent to the tower block was scrapped to make room for its £9.7-million redevelopment. "We were reassuring them, telling them we've done what we can and that we've phoned 999, but obviously the look on their face was death", Lamrani said.

The Metropolitan Police have set up a casualty bureau for anyone concerned about their friends and family on 0800 0961 233.

The cause of the fire is yet unknown.

This story has been corrected to show that the building has 24 floors, not 27.

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