The blaze engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower on Latimer Road in White City on Wednesday morning
Eyewitnesses reveal how families ‘begged for their lives’ as they tried to escape the blaze, while people are still trapped inside the 27-storey building as it teeters on the brink of collapse.
More than 600 residents desperately tried to escape the flames as the fire broke out in the middle of the night, with many woken by the screams of others and the smell of burning plastic.
Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, White City, is currently ‘lurching’ to one side after a ‘very, very severe fire’ broke out in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with those inside claiming a fire alarm failed to sound.
As residents flooded the streets outside the building, many spoke of members of their family or close neighbours being unaccounted for, as they were forced to watch on as their home and all their belongings went up in flames.
One neighbour said he believed someone had jumped from about 10 to 15 floors to escape the fire, while there were screams of joy and a relief as a five-year-old girl was pulled from the flames by emergency services.
Dany Cotton, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said there had been ‘a number of fatalities’ following a ‘unprecedented incident’ that she described as the largest in scale that she had seen in her 29-year career.
London Ambulance Service said 30 people have been rushed to five hospitals around the capital, while at least one resident is still stuck inside the block on the 11th floor, with firefighters desperately trying to reach him.
Panicked residents trapped high in the enormous tower were heard screaming for help as they leaned out of their windows and tied bed sheets together in an attempt to reach the ground.
Many of those evacuated said they were woken by screams, intense heat and the smell of burning plastic, thought to be white cladding that was installed on the building last year as part of a £10million refurbishment.
One woman said that residents faced ‘either jumping out the window with their children and risk breaking bones or staying where you were and dying’.
The fire is said to have spread from the second floor to the roof of the enormous 120-flat block in just 15 minutes, with 200 firefighters struggling to bring it under control.
The heat was said to be so intense that firefighters were unable to get close to the building, which was built in 1974.
Among those being evacuated was what a man described as a ‘heavily disabled woman’, who was being carried down the stairs by firefighters.
Mouna Elogbani, who lives on the 11th floor with her husband and three children, aged 13, 10 and two, said she got a phone call from a neighbour warning her that the block was alight.
She said: ‘I was in my home going to bed, It was around 1.30am and my children were asleep.
‘My friend called on the phone and told me that the building was on fire, it was coming towards our floor and we needed to get out.
‘I woke up my children and we carried them out of the flat – but when we opened the door to escape the flames burst into the house and we had to shut it again. We got out through a fire escape and down the stairs.
‘I know that there are people trapped on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd floors and one of my neighbours has passed away’.