A number of people have been killed in a huge fire at a 27-storey tower block in west London, the fire service has announced.
More than 50 people are being treated in five hospitals across the capital, London Ambulance Service said, as 200 firefighters battle the flames that have engulfed Grenfell Tower in Kensington.
The Metropolitan Police tweeted: “An emergency number has been set up for anyone concerned for loved ones in #NorthKensington fire please call Casualty Bureau 0800 0961 233”.
London Fire Brigade (LFB) commissioner Dany Cotton said the fire was an “unprecedented situation” and confirmed “a number of fatalities”.
She could not confirm the exact number due to the size and complexity of the building, she added.
She told reporters at the scene: “In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never ever seen anything of this scale.”
The cause is so far unknown.
Heartbreaking scenes at Grenfell Tower in Kensington. Reports of safety failures very worrying. My thoughts are with all those affected.
Refurbishment had recently been carried out with new cladding on the outside of the 1970s-era structure and work on the gas supply to the flats. It cost £8.7 million, and was completed in May last year.
A residents’ action group said their warnings about safety had fallen on “deaf ears”.
It said there was only one entry and exit to the tower during improvement works at the block in Latimer Road and it had issues with evacuation procedures.
After the fire, the group posted: “All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.”
Commander Stuart Cundy, from 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.
“Anyone who is concerned about loved ones in relation to the fire should contact [the] casualty bureau which has been opened following the fire. If you do not get through immediately please do try again.
“Extensive cordons remain in place and a number of nearby residents have been evacuated as a precaution. The A40 is closed in both directions. We kindly ask that the public stay away from the area.”