At least six people have died after an inferno raged through the night at a west London 24-storey tower block, and police expect that number to rise.
Eyewitnesses described people trapped in the burning Grenfell Tower, in North Kensington, screaming for help and yelling for their children to be saved.
Firefighters, who rescued many people, were called at 00:54 BST and are still trying to put out the fire.
Police say there may still be people in the building who are unaccounted for.
During the night, eyewitnesses said they saw lights – thought to be mobile phones or torches – flashing at the top of the block of flats, and trapped residents coming to their windows – some holding children.It is understood that “several hundred” people would have been in the block when the fire broke out shortly after midnight, most of them sleeping.
Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police, said the recovery operation would be “complex and lengthy”, and the number of fatalities was expected to rise.
He declined to give any details of the number of people who may be missing.
He said it was likely to be some time before police could identify the victims, adding that it was too early to speculate on the cause of the fire.
An emergency number – 0800 0961 233 – has been set up for anyone concerned about friends or family.
More than 70 people have received treatment in hospital. At least 20 are known to be in a critical condition.
At 13:00 BST, Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said firefighters expected to be on the scene for at least another 24 hours and she would not speculate about the cause of the blaze.
She said there were concerns that people were still inside the tower and she urged all residents to make sure they had reported themselves to police so that the authorities know they are safe.
Speaking also about the tragedy, speaker John Bercow has offered condolences on behalf of MPs to the victims of the “unimaginable and horrific disaster”.
MPs would normally be expected to have a chance to ask questions to a minister on such disasters in the chamber but Bercow said it was not possible in this instance, as parliament has yet to officially convene following the general election.
“I’m sure on behalf of each and every one of you in this chamber to offer our condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this unimaginable and horrific disaster.
I want also, I’m sure with your concurrence, to offer the warmest and most effusive thanks to our magnificent emergency services for coping the best they can in this horrendous situation.”
At least 6 are dead, 20 in critical condition and some are missing due to the blazing inferno.
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