Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

HERE'S WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:

  • Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police confirmed there have been 12 fatalities in the fire.
  • 68 people were taken to six hospitals for treatment. 10 people made their own way to hospital. 18 are in critical care.
  • Five people are reported to be missing.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs confirms that it has no information that any Irish citizens have been caught up in the incident.
  • More than 20 ambulance crews were sent to the scene, London Ambulance Service said.
  • 40 engines containing more than 200 firefighters attended the scene.
  • The fire was burning from the second to the top floor.
  • The cause of the fire is not yet clear.
  • Grenfell Tower is a 24-storey block that was built in 1974 and contains 120 homes.
  • Update 7.14pm:Twelve people have died and more are feared dead after a huge fire destroyed a tower block in west London.

    Flames tore through the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in north Kensington overnight, leaving people trapped on upper floors - some holding babies out of windows and others jumping from their flats.

    Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

    Some bodies have been removed from the smouldering remains of the building, which contains 120 flats thought to be home to between 400 and 600 people.

    Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said: "Sadly I can confirm that there are now 12 people that have died that we know of.

    "This is going to be a long and complex recovery operation and I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12."

    Fire crews are continuing to tackle "pockets of fire" in the building with many people still unaccounted for.

    Steve Apter, director of safety and assurance at London Fire Brigade, said: "I can confirm I have had firefighters manage to get through particularly arduous conditions up to the top floor."

    London Fire Brigade said it had rescued 65 people from the building.

    Mr Cundy added: "Whilst we may have accessed every floor that is not the same as a full search of the whole building, and as I said while we currently sadly have 12 fatalities, I do believe that figure will rise and sadly I don't anticipate that there will be further survivors."

    NHS England said 74 patients were treated in six hospitals across London. Thirty four patients remain in hospital including 1 8 who are in critical care.

    There have been calls for a major investigation amid questions about how the fire spread so rapidly through the block.

    London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton earlier told reporters: "This is an unprecedented incident. In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never ever seen anything of this scale."

    Prime Minister Theresa May was said to be "deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life" and newly appointed police and fire minister Nick Hurd will chair a meeting of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat to co-ordinate the response.

    Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said "searching questions" need to be asked about what happened, suggesting spending cuts could have contributed to the deadly fire.

    He said: "If you deny local authorities the funding they need, then there is a price that's paid."

    Built in 1974, Grenfell Tower was recently refurbished at a cost of £8.6 million, with work completed in May last year.

    Rydon, the firm that carried it out, said its work "met all required building control, fire regulation, and health and safety standards".

    London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: "There will be a great many questions over the coming days as to the cause of this tragedy and I want to reassure Londoners that we will get all the answers."

    Nick Paget-Brown, leader of Kensington and Chelsea Borough, said: "Clearly, looking further ahead there needs to be a full investigation into the cause of this fire, why it started and why it appears to have spread so rapidly."

    London Fire Brigade said the cause of the fire is still being investigated, but several residents reported one man had said it started in his faulty fridge.

    Witnesses said the fire spread rapidly and traumatic accounts have emerged of the desperate attempts made by residents to flee the flames.

    Samira Lamrani said she saw a woman try to save a baby by dropping it from a window ''on the ninth or 10th floor'' to waiting members of the public below.

    Tiago Etienne, 17, heard people pleading for help as the building was engulfed in flames.

    She said: "I saw children being thrown out of the building from as high as about the 15th floor. They were young - aged probably between four and eight. I saw three thrown out.

    "I think they were being thrown out for the firefighters or police to catch, but I couldn't see from where I was who was at the bottom and what they were catching them in."

    Local councillor Judith Blakeman, who lives opposite the tower, rushed outside when she heard about the blaze at 5am.

    She said: "Neighbours had been watching it all night, they said the cladding went up like a nightdress by a fire - it just went whoosh."

    Residents who escaped complained there had been no fire alarm, with many relying on neighbours to wake them as the blaze spread, and said official advice in the event of a fire had been to stay inside.

    Michael Paramasivan, who was in his seventh floor flat with girlfriend Hannah West, 23, and her daughter Thea, five, said: "If we'd listened to them and stayed in the flat we'd have perished."

    A residents' action group said its warnings about safety had fallen on "deaf ears".

    A blog post from Grenfell Action Group in November said "only a catastrophic event" would expose the concerns residents had.

    The group said there was one entry and exit to the tower during improvement works and it had issues with evacuation procedures.

    Mr Paramasivan, 37, told the Press Association: "There were explosions everywhere you looked, lots of bangs, blue gas coming out everywhere you looked.

    "About 12 floors up I saw three children waving from a window and then there was just an explosion and they disappeared.

    "They were three kids, they were banging on the windows, you could see their silhouettes and then bang, it just went up."

    Flowers had been placed beside the taped-off police cordon, which was being guarded by uniformed officers.

    Attached to a mixed bouquet was a card with the message: "Love and prayers to the families and victims. Justice has to be done. People before money. RIP."

    Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

    Update 5.32pm: Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said: "Whilst we may have accessed every floor that is not the same as a full search of the whole building, and as I said while we currently sadly have 12 fatalities, I do believe that figure will rise and sadly I don't anticipate that there will be further survivors."

    Paul Woodrow, from the London Ambulance Service said 68 patients were taken to six hospitals across London, 18 of whom are receiving critical care, while a further ten patients self-presented at hospitals.

    Update 5.18pm: A number of people have been reported missing following the Grenfell Tower fire.

    Khadija Saye

    Artist Khadija Saye, 24, who is currently showing her artwork in the Venice Biennale, was in her flat on the 20th floor, with her mother Mary Mendy, who is thought to be in her 50s.

    Her friend, artist Nicola Green, said: "We're desperately trying to communicate with all the hospitals.

    "We're told some people have been rescued up to the 19th and 20th floor. She was on the 20th floor. Nobody has any information at this point."

    Ms Green told the Press Association that Ms Saye was last heard from at 3am when she was direct messaging from her flat, as her phone was not working.

    Ms Green's husband, Labour MP David Lammy, also put out a plea to find Ms Saye, tweeting: "If you have any information about Khadija Saye pls contact me. She is our dear friend, a beautiful soul and emerging artist."

    Jessica Urbano

    Jessica Urbano.
    Jessica Urbano.

    Twelve-year-old Jessica Urbano is still missing following the fire at the block.

    Ana Ospina posted an image of the young girl, said to be about 5ft tall, on Facebook, saying: "Please continue to share the photo of my niece who has not yet found her. I know there are people who say they already found her, but the reality is that there has been no news of her."

    Mrs Ospina told the Press Association the young girl lived on the 20th floor, adding: "She last spoke to her mum when she borrowed a phone and told her she was on the stairs with other people.

    "We than have had unconfirmed reports/sightings of her outside of the flats and also being put into an ambulance, but we have checked hospitals and no news."

    Mariem Elgwahry

    Emma Evans shared an appeal to find long-time friend Mariem Elgwahry, who lived on the 19th floor of the tower block and was said to be missing with her mother.

    Ms Evans told the Press Association that Ms Elgwahry had last been heard from when she spoke to another friend in the tower block - who was since confirmed safe - at around 2.30am.

    She added that she had been to a number of rescue centres in the area "with no luck yet".

    Ali Yawar Jafari

    Ali Yawar Jafari, 82, is thought to be among those missing.

    His son, Hamid Ali Jafari, said his father had lost contact with his mother and sister, who lived with him in Grenfell Tower, on the 10th floor.

    The younger Mr Jafari told the Press Association he had been to several rescue centres throughout the day since first reporting his father missing on Twitter just before 8am.

    Asked if he had any news since then, he said: "No."

    According to the Telegraph, Mr Jafari said: "He was with my mother and sister in the lift and she said the lift stopped on the tenth floor and he said there was too much smoke and he couldn't breathe and he got out of the lift and then the doors shut and it didn't stop again till the ground floor."

    Raymond "Moses" Bernard

    A family friend confirmed to the Press Association that Raymond Bernard, known to friends as Moses, remained missing after the fire.

    Update 5.14pm: It has been reported that pockets of fire are still burning at Grenfell Tower.

    A ruptured gas pipe is thought to have hampered emergency services efforts to access the building.

    Steve Apter, director of safety and assurance at London Fire Brigade, said: "I can confirm I have had firefighters manage to get through particularly arduous conditions up to the top floor."

    London Fire Brigade said it had rescued 65 people from the building.

    Update 5.09pm: The Grenfell Tower fire death toll is 12 and will rise further, Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said.

    Update 4.49pm: The ambulance service has said that 69 patients had been taken to six hospitals across London, with 18 people in critical care.

    A further 10 patients made their own way to hospital.

    Meanwhile, flowers have been placed beside the taped-off police cordon, which was being guarded by uniformed officers.

    Attached to a mixed bouquet was a card with the message: "Love and prayers to the families and victims. Justice has to be done. People before money. RIP."

    Floral tributes left at the roadside next to burnt debris from a fire that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.
    Floral tributes left at the roadside next to burnt debris from a fire that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.

    Update 4.42pm: A sports complex near Grenfell Tower has become the epicentre of a vast relief effort following the devastating overnight fire.

    The Westway Sports and Fitness Centre was turned into a refuge for residents evacuated from the flats and left destitute by the blaze.

    Gymnastics mats were laid out on the floor of its main hall, where organisers said those trying to process Tuesday night's events could rest.

    Throngs of volunteers poured through the doors of the centre all day, many armed with supplies and some pushing shopping trolleys.

    Beds are laid out in the Westway Sports Centre close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.
    Beds are laid out in the Westway Sports Centre close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.

    Inside, tables sagged under the weight of donations, which ranged from food and drink to clothing and toiletries.

    Representatives from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea also attended, to assist with housing and social services.

    Alex Russell, from the Westway Trust, was helping to co-ordinate the effort.

    She told the Press Association: "We have opened up the centre as a refuge centre and the council have set up their social services and housing services here.

    "I think people will be housed but the mats are a place to come and rest, if people want to come in and have a moment to themselves.

    "The response has been incredible, people are bringing in everything."

    Due to the volume of donations, tennis courts next to the centre were also being used to house donations.

    Update 3.20pm: The Department of Foreign Affairs says it has no information that any Irish citizens have been caught up in the devastating blaze in London.

    Anyone who has concerns for loved ones can make contact with the Irish Embassy in London on 0044 207 235 2171, or the consular assistance unit in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on (01) 4082527.

    Meanwhile, British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has suggested spending cuts could have contributed to the deadly fire at Grenfell Tower.

    He said "searching questions" need to be asked about what happened at the west London tower block.

    "If you deny local authorities the funding they need, then there is a price that’s paid."

    Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

    Mr Corbyn told LBC Radio that calls for sprinklers to be installed in high-rise buildings after a fatal fire at Lakanal House in south London in 2009 had not been heeded.

    He said: "Harriet Harman, who is the MP for Camberwell and Peckham, raised all these issues after that fire and ... demanded that sprinklers should be fitted to all of these buildings.

    "I suspect they have not been in many places. I don’t know all of the details for the whole country but, if you deny local authorities the funding they need, then there is a price to pay that’s paid by the lack of safety facilities all over the country.

    "I think there needs to be some very searching questions asked as quickly as possible in the aftermath of this fire."

    Update 1.28pm: Several firefighters were injured as they tackled the blaze, London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said.

    The fire chief added that a "major investigation" would take place once the search and rescue operation had concluded

    "Unfortunately, a number of firefighters have been injured but fortunately only with minor injuries, which, considering the scale and the number of my firefighters have been involved and how hard they have worked, is a testament to their professionalism and dedication," she said.

    Asked if an inquiry would be carried out independent of the borough, Mr Khan said: "There are genuine concerns, reasonable concerns, that have been raised in the course of the night and it’s really important that these questions are answered.

    "I will be demanding answers and I can assure you I will be ensuring there is independence in relation to it.

    "The reassurance we need is to make sure lessons are learned and also if - and this is a big if - if there are mistakes made, we want to make sure we learn from them."

    Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

    Addressing concerns about potential design flaws existing in similar towers across London, he said: "There are tower blocks across London and across the country and they are the responsibility of the borough or a private management company and it’s important people are reassured these towers are safe."

    Update 12.44pm: Twenty people are in a critical condition and 74 others are being treated in six hospitals across London following the Grenfell Tower fire, London Ambulance Service said.

    At least six people have died after a huge fire destroyed the tower block in west London, but the death toll is expected to rise.

    More than 100 medical staff have been helping those caught up in the blaze, with people suffering "a range of injuries" and smoke inhalation.

    Paul Woodrow, the LAS director of operations, said: "We have treated and taken 64 patients to six hospitals across London, where 20 people are currently in critical care."

    Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

    Patients are being treated at St Mary’s, Chelsea and Westminster, Royal Free, St Thomas’, Charing Cross and King’s College Hospital.

    Ten patients made their own way to hospital, the ambulance service said, while 64 were taken by paramedics.

    Mr Woodrow said: "Over 100 of our medics have been working hard to respond to this incident, including ambulance crews, advanced paramedics, advanced trauma teams from London’s air ambulance and those staff managing the incident in our special operations centre."

    People concerned about friends and relatives can call a police casualty bureau on 0800 096 1233.

    Sixteen injured people, three of them critical, are being treated at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said.

    Four more, none of them critical, are being treated at Charing Cross Hospital, medical director Professor Julian Redhead said.

    He said: "We are continuing to care for patients who are primarily suffering the effects of smoke.

    "Along with the emergency services and other receiving hospitals, we are ensuring that we are doing everything that we can to care for and support those affected by this dreadful incident.

    "Our accident and emergency departments at both hospitals remain very busy and so we are asking members of the public to attend only if it is an emergency.

    "We are requesting that, where possible, they attend their local walk-in centre or GP practice."

    Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

    Update 12.25pm: British Prime Minister Theresa May is "deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life" in the Grenfell Tower fire, Downing Street said.

    Police and Fire Minister Nick Hurd will chair a meeting of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat to co-ordinate the response to the disaster and the British government is ready to assist "as necessary", a Number 10 spokesman said.

    "The Prime Minister is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the Grenfell Tower and is being kept constantly updated on the situation," the spokesman said.

    "The PM’s thoughts are with all of those affected by this terrible incident and the emergency services, who are working tirelessly in very difficult circumstances."

    Update 11.16am: Six people have died in the Grenfell Tower fire but the death toll is expected to rise, Scotland Yard said.

    Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "I can confirm six fatalities at this time but this figure is likely to rise during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days. Many others are receiving medical care."

    He said it was likely to be some time before police are able to identify the victims, adding that it was too early to speculate on the cause of the fire.

    London Fire Brigade said a structural engineer had checked the building and determined it was not in danger of collapse and that rescue teams were safe to be inside.

    Mr Khan said: "You’ll be aware we’re talking about a 24-storey tower block, 120 flats. The bad news, as the fire commissioner confirmed, there have been a number of fatalities and 50 people have been taken so far to five hospitals across London.

    Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

    "Just doing some basic crude maths, which is all we can do, there are 120 flats, many of the flats are four bedroom, a number of people when they heard the noise and smelt the smoke left their flats over the course of the night. Our firefighters were able to rescue many people from the tower block but, of course, you’ll appreciate that at the moment there are a number that are unaccounted for and now some of them could have found safe refuge.

    "The good news is that we are still at the search and rescue stage, we have not moved to the recovery stage and that gives me some cause for optimism."

    Update 10.35am: Grenfell Tower is a 24-storey block that was built in 1974 and contains 120 homes.

    The building was refurbished recently at a cost of £8.6m, with work completed in May last year.

    The exterior of the tower was modernised with cladding and replacement windows, while additional homes were added using vacant space in the building.

    On its website, Rydon Construction said: "Externally, rain screen cladding, curtain wall facade and replacement windows were fitted, improving thermal insulation and modernising the exterior of the building."

    The work also included the installation of new double-glazed windows and a new communal heating system.

    A communal entrance was also created along with new facilities for returning tenants, Grenfell Under 3s Nursery and Dale Youth Amateur Boxing Club.

    Based in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, it is around half a mile from the Westfield shopping centre and close to many London Underground stations.`

    Update 9.59am: Witnesses described hearing one distressed resident apparently telling neighbours his faulty fridge caused the blaze.

    Samira Lamrani, 38, who lives on nearby Hurstway Walk, said: "When I arrived on the scene he (the resident) was amongst the people that were standing there.

    "He was just beside himself. He was just as surprised at how quickly the fire spread as anybody else.

    "I could hear him saying that he contacted the emergency services immediately and they reassured him everything would be under control within a short period of time, and obviously it wasn’t."

    She said she thought the fire started on the second floor.

    London mayor Sadiq Khan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: "It’s very distressing, not just for those of us watching as lay people, but also very distressing for the emergency services.

    "We declared a major incident very early, which meant not just the fire service but also the London Ambulance Service, the police and the others were involved at the scene."

    More than 100 police officers were on scene, alongside 100 medics and 250 firefighters, he said.

    Pressed on reports that residents had been advised to stay inside their flats in the event of a fire, Mr Khan said: "Thankfully residents didn’t stay in their flats and fled to safety.

    "One of the concerns that we have is it’s a 24-storey building but for obvious reasons, with the scale of the fire, our experts weren’t able to reach all the way to the top, so of course these are questions that need to be answered as soon as possible."

    Update 9.33am: An action group at a west London tower block ravaged by fire have said their warnings fell on "deaf ears" after highlighting safety concerns about the block.

    The cause of the blaze at the Grenfell tower, north Kensington, is not known, but a blog post from the Grenfell Action Group from November 2016 said "only a catastrophic event" would expose issues residents had.

    The group claimed access to the building was "severely restricted" for emergency services and other vehicles and that residents were advised to stay in their flats in case of fire.

    Update 8.15am: London Ambulance Service said paramedics had taken more than 50 patients to five hospitals.

    Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "I can confirm there have been a number of fatalities and others receiving medical care. We will be soon making contact with next of kin."

    The force said it was "likely to take some time before we are in a position to confirm the cause of the fire".

    Update 7.50am: Several people have died after a huge fire destroyed a tower block in west London with witnesses reporting residents caught in the flames.

    People who escaped the fire at the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in north Kensington spoke of others trapped and screaming for help, with some holding children from windows and others jumping from upper floors.

    Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

    London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said there had been a "number of fatalities" but could not say how many due to the size and complexity of the building.

    She told reporters at the scene: "This is an unprecedented incident. In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never ever seen anything of this scale."

    Update 7.23am: An acrid column of smoke could be seen rising from the building shortly before 7am.

    Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

    The charred structure still had pockets of flame rising from several storeys as the desperate effort to bring the blaze under control continued.

    Schoolboy Omar Kalam, 11, was standing anxiously at the emergency service cordon with father Walid, 44.

    "My brother has friends and they live in there," he said. "I’m not sure if they are all right yet."

    Parents from nearby Kensington Aldridge Academy, where Omar attends, had been told the school was closed, his father said.

    Update 6.50am: London Fire Brigade said around 30 flats near the scene had been evacuated and a cordon was in place.

    A person peers out of a window from the building on fire in London. Pic: PA
    A person peers out of a window from the building on fire in London. Pic: PA

    Earlier: A massive blaze has engulfed a block of flats in west London with witnesses reporting people being trapped in their homes.

    More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the fire at the 27-storey Grenfell Tower which was reported just after 1.15am on Wednesday.

    Police said a "number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including two for smoke inhalation, as pictures from the scene in north Kensington showed flames engulfing the block and the plume of smoke visible across the capital.

    Actor and writer Tim Downie, who lives around 600 metres from the scene in Latimer Road, told the Press Association he feared the block could collapse.

    Smoke and flames rise from the building on fire in London. Pic: PA
    Smoke and flames rise from the building on fire in London. Pic: PA

    He said: "It’s horrendous. The whole building is engulfed in flames. It’s gone. It’s just a matter of time before this building collapses.

    "It’s the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen. I just hope they have got everyone out.

    "The first I knew was the noise of sirens, helicopters and shouting. I saw it engulfed in flames.

    "People have been bringing water, clothes, anything they’ve got to help, out to the cordon.

    "I have seen people coming out in their bedclothes - it’s just very distressing."

    Jody Martin said he got to the scene just as the first fire engine was arriving at Grenfell Tower, in Latimer Road.

    Latest: Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 12 lives, 18 critical, 9 missing

    He told the BBC: "I grabbed an axe from the fire truck, it looked like there was a bit of confusion about what to do.

    "I ran around the building looking for a fire escape and couldn’t see any noticeable fire escapes around the building. A lot of debris falling down.

    "I eventually gained entry onto the second floor, and once I got to the corridor I realised there was so much smoke there."

    He added that given the thickness of the smoke, he would be surprised if anyone could have left the building without assistance.

    "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’," he said.

    Fire crews from north Kensington, Kensington, Hammersmith and Paddington and surrounding stations were at the scene with the fire burning from the second to the top floor.

    The cause of the fire is not known at this stage, London Fire Brigade said.

    Fabio Bebber wrote on Twitter: "More screams for help as the fire spreads to another side of the building.

    "We can see how quick the fire spreads via the external panels. It’s unbearable hearing someone screaming for their lives at #grenfelltower."

    George Clarke, who presents the Channel 4 TV show Amazing Spaces, told Radio 5 Live: "I was in bed and heard ’beep, beep, beep’ and thought, ’I’ll get up and run downstairs as quickly as I could’.

    "I thought it might be a car alarm outside and saw the glow through the windows.

    "I’m getting covered in ash, that’s how bad it is. I’m 100 metres away and I’m absolutely covered in ash.

    "It’s so heartbreaking, I’ve seen someone flashing their torches at the top level and they obviously can’t get out.

    "The guys are doing an incredible job to try and get people out that building, but it’s truly awful."

    London Fire Brigade assistant commissioner Dan Daly said: "Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle this fire.

    "This is a large and very serious incident and we have deployed numerous resources and specialist appliances."

    London Ambulance said it had sent a " number of resources" to the scene, including its Hazardous Area Response Team.

    London mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: "Major incident declared at Grenfell Tower in Kensington" and urged people to follow London Fire Brigade on Twitter.

    Stuart Crighton, London Ambulance Service assistant director of operations, said: "We have sent a number of resources to the scene including our hazardous area response team and over 20 ambulance crews.

    "Our priority (is) to get people to safety and ensure they receive the medical help as quickly as possible.

    "Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries and ensure those in the most need are treated first and taken to hospital."

    Former chancellor and now editor of the Evening Standard George Osborne tweeted: "Just seen this awful tower block fire near my home in W London. My prayers with those affected & heroes tackling it."

    Transport for London said there was no service between Hammersmith and Edgware Road on the Circle and Hammersmith and City lines, while the police said the A40 was closed in both directions, owing to the fire.

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