SHAFAQNA – A 24-story tower block on Latimer Road in west London has been engulfed in a horrifying blaze, with reports saying people have been trapped in flats in the upper stories.
The massive fire has engulfed the Grenfell Tower in North Kensington from the 2nd story to the top floor, the London Fire Brigade has tweeted. It added that at least 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters have been battling the blaze.
The fire, which broke out at around 1am, is believed to have started on the 4th floor, reportedly due to a faulty fridge, RT UK’s correspondent Eisa Ali reports from the scene.
The building has a history of fire safety violations and residents have been complaining about improper and outdated safety standards as recently as last year, Ali said.
Posting an update via Skype at 5am London time, Ali reported that people were still visibly trapped on some of the floors. A video uploaded by RT’s Ruptly video agency clearly shows a man opening a window close to a scorched and burning side of the building on one of the upper floors.
A sizeable number of the block’s residents are Muslim, and many might have been out of the building as it is during the holy month of Ramadan, Ali suggested. However, many others were still reportedly inside when the fire started, he added.
Meanwhile, eyewitness accounts have been pouring in, with reports claiming women and children were among those trapped on the burning floors.
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared the fire a “major incident.”
No casualties have been yet officially been confirmed amid the mass evacuation, but alarming eyewitness reports of people caught in the blaze have been quoted in reports from the scene and on social media.