24 story tower fire in London

A disaster has been unfolding in London overnight (afternoon NZ time) with a 24 story block of flats engulfed in flames.

The Telegraph  Grenfell Tower fire: Huge blaze engulfs London flats with people feared trapped

Where was the fire?

It took place in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in Kensington, West London. The residential highrise was built in 1974 and contains 120 homes.

The fire broke out shortly before 1 am, with London Fire Brigade saying it was called at 12.54 am.

What caused it?

The cause of the fire is unknown. London mayor Sadiq Khan has said the fire has been declared a “major incident”.

How many people have been injured?

The picture is still unclear. Thirty people have been taken to five hospitals, but many people are understood to be accounted for.

Police have since said a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries. It is still unclear whether everybody has been evacuated and there are fears that some people could be trapped.

From reports it looks likely there could be a number of casualties.

London fire commissioner Dany Cotton’s statement:

This is an unprecedented incident. In my 29 years of being a firefighter I have never ever seen anything of this scale. Firefighters are working very hard at the moment.

This is a major fire that effected all floors of this 24 storey building from the second floor upwards. I have over 200 of my firefighters and officers attending this incident, with 40 fire engines and a range of specialist vehicles, including 14 fire rescue units. We declared this a major incident very early this morning … the first call coming in at 12.54. Our first fire engines were on the scene in under six minutes.

Crews wearing breathing apparatus and extended duration breathing apparatus have been working in extremely challenging and very difficult conditions to rescue people and bring this major fire under control.

London Ambulance Service have confirmed that 30 people have been taken to five hospitals.

I am very sad to confirm that there have been a number of fatalities. I cannot confirm the number at this time due to the size and complexity of this building. It would clearly be wrong for me to speculate further.

Equally the cause of this fire is not known at this stage.

We are working very closely with our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police and the London Ambulance Service to bring this situation under control.

Further information will be made available shortly including advice for those concerned about those who are working here and people who live her.

86 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  June 14, 2017

    Heard someone involved say they couldn’t see how anyone above the fourth floor could have got out. Looks very bad.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  June 14, 2017

    Looks pretty bad for some of those responsible for this Council owned and run building:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-40269625

    New cladding that burnt and complaints about fire risk and inadequate services and access.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  June 14, 2017

      It must have been a nightmare for the firemen just getting to it. I remember seeing a fire engine in Wellington trying to get down Dixon St, and drivers couldn’t pull over, there was no room. They just whizzed on and turned into the next street they came to. Narrow streets and fire engines are a terrible combination.

      I heard that the wiring was bad, but at this stage it’s probably just guessing and rumour to a large extent.

      • Missy

         /  June 15, 2017

        It will take a while to confirm, but reports are that a faulty fridge exploded, however there had been reports of power surges in the building previously.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  June 15, 2017

          I don’t think that power surges usually cause fires, I may be wrong, unless they are really major ones as in lightning strikes.

          It must be impossible to make a building 100% fireproof and still be liveable in.

          There was a fatal house fire in NZ when an oldish fridge exploded. It was the same model as ours, and although it worked perfectly well, we replaced it at once-I bet that we were among many. Another fatal house fire, one that was quite near us, happened when a fault in a television made it go up although it was turned off. It was a very rare, almost unheard of thing, but I have turned mine off at the wall ever since.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  June 15, 2017

          It seems that power surges are most unlikely to cause fires, thank goodness. They happen all the time. I remember looking this up when someone blamed them for a house fire.

  3. Gezza

     /  June 14, 2017

    Looks absolutely terrible on 1Ewes. The whole thing’s a smoking shell, in danger of falling down. Residents evacuated. Concerns had been expressed about the building before & owners reported to have not kept it up to H&S standards, according to London reporter Emma Keeling.

    Night video of the fire show the whole building a flaming residential tower block. Fire hoses getting nowhere near the height of the flames. 30 people taken to hospital so far. No official word on fatalities yet, but one man reported seen falling, video shown of someone out of reach waving, witnesses spoke of a mother holding her baby out of a window.

    An utter, horrific tragedy by the look of it. Recriminations of owners & authorities are certain.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  June 14, 2017

      I saw what looked like someone falling.

      One can only hope that the dead people were overcome by smoke.

      • Missy

         /  June 15, 2017

        People were jumping from the building. Many of the images are quite reminiscent of the World Trade Centre on 9/11.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  June 15, 2017

          They were, indeed, on a smaller scale. I would probably be too paralysed with fear to jump.

  4. Kitty Catkin

     /  June 14, 2017

    I don’t envy those who have to try to co-ordinate the lists of residents and see who’s missing & who’s accounted for. Nobody can not have heard of it, so anyone who lives there but wasn’t there that night will be ringing in to say so-but there are bound to be some who were staying there overnight and didn’t tell anyone. Why would people ? If I stayed the night at someone’s place, nobody would know.

    • patupaiarehe

       /  June 15, 2017

      If I stayed the night at someone’s place, nobody would know.

      I wouldn’t have picked you, as that type of girl, Kitty… 😉

      • PDB

         /  June 15, 2017

        Cats do stray……

      • Gezza

         /  June 15, 2017

        Well, if they didn’t know, like, were away at the time, it’s a bit sort of – illegal, isn’t it?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  June 15, 2017

        You know what I mean !

        • patupaiarehe

           /  June 15, 2017

          I do, Kitty, but couldn’t help myself… 😀

  5. Gezza

     /  June 14, 2017

    Aljaz tv reporting from London say Met Police have confirmed 6 people known to have died, that number is expected to increase.
    10.27 pm

    • Gezza

       /  June 15, 2017

      Press conference:

      Dany Cotton, London Fire Commissioner:
      Worst fire she has ever seen in her 29 year fire service history, it is unprecedented, & she has seen a lot of fires in hi-rise buildings. Some firefighters injured, but fortunately minor injuries.

      Crews are going from floor to floor looking for people.

      Ambulance Service Spokesman:
      London Ambulance Service has treated 64 people & taken them to six hospitals, a number to major trauma units, 20 said to be in critical condition – a further 10 people have presented themselves across London.

      A number of people still accounted for. Calls still coming in about them.

      Sadiq Khan:

      Audio was patchy – investigations underway – obviously something has gone seriously wrong that shouldn’t have – will find out – see what lessons to be learned etc.

  6. Gezza

     /  June 15, 2017

    Aljaz tv: BREAKING NEWS

    Multiple shooting in Alexandria, Virginia. More details when available. Several people wounded. A US Congressman said to be involved.
    12.14 am

    • Gezza

       /  June 15, 2017

      Sorry. Reposted in World Watch – Thursday.

  7. Missy

     /  June 15, 2017

    Horrific news to have woken up to. The fire started just before 1am this morning, and my understanding that it is still burning (it is 3.10pm).

    6 are confirmed dead and dozens more are missing. The police have said the death toll is expected to rise significantly.

    One person – who doesn’t wish to be named – believes that nobody on the top three floors survived.

    Listening to the radio this morning so many people who live in the area were calling in, they were awoken around 1.30am by the helicopters, but they said what will live with them for the rest of their lives is the screams of people trapped. An absolute tragedy, one that could have been avoided.

    • Gezza

       /  June 15, 2017

      Aljazeera reports death toll now confirmed at 12.
      18 people believed to be in a critical condition.
      4.20

  8. Zedd

     /  June 15, 2017

    They avoided saying ‘terrorists possibility’.. but did say a large number of muslims live in the area ? possibly suggesting a ‘revenge attack’ ??

    In the footage, someone said ‘fire seemed to be pouring down the side of the building’ (use of accelerant ?) we shall see. It did seem to be very widespread & all engulfing in a short time !

    • Gezza

       /  June 15, 2017

      Did you see Aljaz interview wiv the really wound up black dude, yeh? Who talked like this yeah? Who said he asked them why they was puttn in this insulation stuff, yeh? An they said its to keep you cool in tha summa an warm in tha winta, yeh? So he said, oh is it ? An he tore a bit off and he put it on his phone an lit it and it went poof up in the air. An he sed to him “an your puttin that stuff in there!! ?

      • Zedd

         /  June 15, 2017

        yeah i fink tha wuz him man or sumwon elsy.. your point being ?

        • Gezza

           /  June 15, 2017

          That with that & reports of problems with faulty wiring, the accelerant theory’s probably shit, man.

    • Missy

       /  June 16, 2017

      Zedd, no accelerant.

      Witnesses are saying it started in an apartment on the fourth floor, the occupant of the apartment it started in has been quoted as saying his fridge exploded and caught fire. The building had been recently refurbished with new cladding, and there is speculation that the cladding was not fully fireproof, but also that a gap between the cladding and the original wall of the building helped to fuel the fire and create space for it to grow. In another similar one in London 7 years ago, a refurbishment compromised the integrity of the ‘compartmentalisation’ of the apartments which provides a fire break and as such the fire spread rapidly, however, it was not as bad as this one.

      So, it wasn’t arson or any kind of ‘revenge’ attack, though some lefty conspiracy theory nutters have suggested such a thing, the facts don’t fit their agenda of crazed right wing fascists burning down an apartment block of predominantly immigrants and muslims.

      • Gezza

         /  June 16, 2017

        In Aljazeera’s commentary yesterday their reporter, a Brit, said at some point after the London Fire Commissioner had spoken, there would need to be an investigation to find out how this terrible tragedy could have come about, that “this country has some of the highest safety standards for buildings in the world – so the experts will be working furiously to determine how things could have been got so wrong.”

        But in the commentary on 1Ewes a senior NZ Fire Service Spokesperson said that :

        1. the type of flammable cladding put on this building was allowed for a while but was prohibited in NZ immediately after a similarly-clad tower building fire in some other country several years ago
        2. This building had no sprinklers. All our buildings must have sprinklers
        3. A sign was shown telling their residents to stay put in a fire. The Fire Safety instructions in NZ to building occupants are to get out, to evacuate as soon as fire is discovered. And all our stairwells are required to be pressurised to prevent the entry of smoke which would overcome evacuees.

        It sounds to me like fire standards for buildings in London / UK are appallingly poor.

        • Missy

           /  June 16, 2017

          G,it surprises me at the poor level of fire safety here.

          The building I used to live in had individual fire alarms but no centralised fire alarm, and no sprinklers, but the apartment building I lived in in Wellington had three layers for fire safety. First was smoke alarm for apartment only – burnt toast etc, second was a centralised fire alarm (manually triggered or automatically triggered when smoke/heat got to a certain reading), and thirdly sprinklers which were delayed so they didn’t come on every time there was a false alarm.

          Referencing your points above.

          1. I think that was a fire in Australia, but could be wrong.

          2. Yep, sprinklers are not a requirement in high rise residential dwellings (don’t know about commercial).

          3. The stay put policy is apparently common in council blocks. Each flat/apartment is apparently built to be compartmentalised with fire proofing in walls and ceilings, the theory behind it is a person can survive several hours and in that time the fire will be put out or they will be rescued. It doesn’t take into account this type of fire that takes hold quickly. Also it has emerged that some of these old buildings that have been returned have had the compartmentalisation compromised due to shoddy building work.

          The Brits think they have some of the best standards in most things here, probably because they are EU standards and the EU say they have the best safety standards in the world! Some of their regulations are abbot lax in my opinion, and I know nothing about this kind of stuff!

        • Gezza

           /  June 16, 2017

          Cheers Missy

          Just in relation to yesterday, where I:

          and you:

          I hope we’re still good friends … ❤️ 🌹

          I think the tower block fire that changed our safety standards was in a South American country. I do think our bureaucracy & legislators move quickly to update standards in this country where we learn of vulnerabilities. Thinking of the work which started quickly on encasing & reinforcing certain overhead motorway support columns after many failed in the Kobe earthquake, although of course that doesn’t mean Councils might move as fast as they should to upgrade non-compliant buildings as regards earthquake-safety, as we have found out in Chch & Welly.

          • Gezza

             /  June 16, 2017

            (Or it might’ve been Spain … it wasn’t Oz)

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              (Yup. Maybe just a bit of polishing. When I asked you to send one of my roses back, I expected a dried rose – not its ashes! 😕 😀 . Cya 😉)

          • Missy

             /  June 16, 2017

            Course we are still friends G, I don’t let a ding dong argument ruin a friendship. 😍

            Ah okay, I just seem to remember there was one in Australia as well, but obviously after the South American (or Spanish) one (I can’t imagine NZ would have waited for a second before acting). As you say, our legislators are pretty quick to move when we learn of vulnerabilities overseas.

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              (You look ever so cute with your wings on)

            • Missy

               /  June 16, 2017

              I am more angel than fairy though….

              as my mother says, my halo just needs a little (lot) polishing. 😉

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              Oops – repeating – posted in wrong place above …

              (Yup. Maybe just a bit of polishing. When I asked you to send one of my roses back, I expected a dried rose – not its ashes! 😕 😀 . Cya 😉)

              Must crack on – Sir Alan’s possibly causing trouble elsewhere.

            • Missy

               /  June 16, 2017

              I am a redhead G, expect the extremes! 😉

            • Said with muchlove and affection 🤗🤗http://m.quickmeme.com/img/b1/b188572035c39c16b352c2a516a4db3bccb9ad1d913a2b877b56fdff7e35881e.jpg

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              Garn, trav. Getting as bad as Blazer. 😉

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              (PS : Guess why we do it 😉)

            • You know how to wound someone. However, I couldn’t help myself. My two board faves you two 🌹🌹🌹🌸🌸🌸❤️❤️❤️

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              Yaw trubble iz yaw a hopeless romantic trav. 🙅🏻

  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  June 15, 2017

    Apparently this combustible cladding was installed in pursuit of loony “sustainability” status. More bodies to lay at the feet of climate alarmists.

  10. Alan Wilkinson

     /  June 15, 2017

    Also responsible for a lot of extra deaths are the “authorities” who told residents to stay put instead of fleeing. The lesson here is never let authorities tell you what to do in an emergency. Ask them what they know. Believe a quarter of it and make your own decisions.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  June 16, 2017

      Proof if you rely on bureaucrats and politicians to keep you safe you will likely die?

      • Gezza

         /  June 16, 2017

        Our bureaucrats & politicians have ensured better fire safety standards than theirs Alan.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  June 16, 2017

          Maybe, Sir G. Who would know? And whether they had been properly applied and maintained in the building you are in? I feel a lot safer in a home I know and can check out for myself.

      • Gezza

         /  June 16, 2017

        And that’s an odd remark? What are you suggesting? Market forces alone would see safer buildings. That ones that kill people won’t sell to people who exercise wise choices??

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  June 16, 2017

          That you are responsible for your own safety and choices. Don’t abdicate your responsibility and judgement to soneone else.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  June 16, 2017

            In this case there seems to have been ample evidence and warnings the building was unsafe. Yet people chose to stay in it.

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              Don’t be so absurd. In a civilised properly-run society, with supposedly good government & ostensibly sensible civil servants, & in a modern city with enough responsible, qualified, Council inspectors insisting that architects & engineers adhere to appropriately wise legislated building & safety standards – there should be no need for non-PhD-holding building tenants to have to check & ask whether their building is safe & the owner a responsible citizen, not just a private or Council rentier seeking profits without any care for their lives.

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              People needing somewhere to live don’t always have the financial wherewithall to enable choices you have had about where to live.
              I worked for several years in two earthquake-risk buildings rented by my own flocking department. We learned this in our on-site civil defence training.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  June 16, 2017

              Sounds like you are content to dice with death on unfounded assumptions, G. Not me.

              As for lack of choice, I don’t believe it. People often say “You are so lucky to live in Russell” to which I reply “Luck has nothing to do with it”.

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              Sounds like you want to live in a world where it’s dog eat dog & devil take the hindmost, Sir Alan.

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              We shall speak no more of this, for I fear we are attempting to communicate across the vastness of empty space when you reside on Europa, & I, on earth, Sir Alan.

              I remain, excruciatingly disbelievingly yours, as always
              Sir Gerald. !
              ❗️

            • I’d be the first person to admit that a good part of my fiscal success can be put down to luck. My education and skill set played a large part, however, my birth into a particular family was down to genetic Russian Roulette. There were a myriad of spontaneous and lucky events that served to my advantage, in particular two that created an unexpected financial foundation ( not inheritance!!). Yes, some success is down to hard work, application and the seizing of opportunity, but there’s as many missed ones in my past – largely due to my inherent conservatism.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  June 16, 2017

              I live in a world where by far the biggest barrier to doing things is mental. People are continually telling themselves they can’t do things. Of course a lot of them then go around telling other people they can’t do things. Then they convince themselves they don’t need to do things. And then they die without doing them.

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              That’s not my issue with Sir Alan, trav. My employment forced to me work in two unsafe buildings. I had no choice to leave. That was how I made my living & provided for myself & family. I was qualified for no other occupation that would match the pay I had thru hard work, smooth talking & self-development worked my way up to.

              We had no idea our management had put us in unsafe situations in commercial office space premises. Neither had they. Should we not have been entitled to that information? We had a reasonable expectation they were safe.

              But the main point is – Alan seems to think I should’ve said “Nope. Not working here. Not safe. Goodbye. Who needs money or a place of employment anyway”.

              And applied the same rigid thinking to the residents of this charred & unsafe building who needed somewhere to live & obviously lived there because there was nowhere else to live, given whatever where their circustances. Lax regard by responsible authorities for their lives killed & injured these poor souls – not unwise choices. I find Sir Alan’s attitude cold & cruel in the extreme.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  June 16, 2017

              I find your attitude cold and cruel in the extreme, Sir G, and in consequence of it some hundred(s of?) people just died because of it.

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              The best answer to the problem of too many *bureaucrats* of poor quality in Government & Councils, Sir Alan, is to insist on getting straight what it is we need them to do, and to get better ones. Unfortunately, that requires that we first insist that we get better managers, & that requires that we first get better politicians, & that requires that we all get involved in finding out who the beggars are representing, and what, if anything, is actually important to them about the people of this country.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  June 16, 2017

              You thought you were not qualified for any other job, Sir Gerald, but in fact your qualifications and job security were between your ears. It’s quite clear from your contributions here that you would have been an asset to any good enterprise you cared to put your talents to. I left a perfectly secure well paid university senior lectureship and threw away my gold-plated Govt Super to “go private” and was soon earning much more with more variety and challenges. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean there is not another world out there.

              But moving to Russell doesn’t take money, it just takes the will to do it.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  June 16, 2017

              Rodney Hide has written articles explaining why that will never happen, Sir G. The political system ensures that fiction trumps truth and gets elected.

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              Is that the building AC?

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              I had other factors that prevented my from taking such risks, Sir Alan. Your views are often wise, but also often too narrow. You see everything through only one set of eyes, yours, and don’t observe them thru others’.

            • Gezza

               /  June 16, 2017

              Anyway … it’s a beautiful, sunny, windless morning in North Welly, the stream is burbling contentedly seawards, the ducks & pookies have happily breakfasted on my handouts, and a grey warbler is singing from somewhere deep in the pittosporum, so I’m moving on from this particular vale of sorrows for now.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  June 16, 2017

              I see what people do to trap themselves and despair for them, Sir G. I guess I have always been a maverick prepared to take risks carefully and do things differently. From the time I biked across the city to a different school, then changed from languages to science for the sixth form and declined to become a school prefect telling the Head l didn’t want to be a policeman. Did my apprenticeship as a research chemist and then became a computer analyst. I like change and exploring the world physically and mentally.

  11. To add incitement to hatred to the mix, this horrible, thoughtless man.

    • Jeremy Corbyn. I remain baffled as why people see such dissidence as constructive or an alternative to sound government.

      “The homes of rich people in Kensington could be seized for Grenfell Tower residents made homeless by fire, Jeremy Corbyn said today.
      Mr Corbyn said the London borough was a ‘tale of two cities’ between a wealthy south and a poor north.
      He suggested that ‘requisitioning’ vacant properties would be a solution to the shortage of available accommodation for those displaced.
      ‘Properties must be found – requisitioned if necessary – in order to make sure that residents do get rehoused locally,’ Mr Corbyn told a meeting of MPs.
      ‘How is it acceptable that in London you have luxury buildings and luxury flats kept empty as land banking for that future while homeless people look for somewhere to live?’

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4607894/Homes-rich-Kensington-SEIZED-says-Corbyn.html

      • So, to the down tickers- what’s happening in the real world among real people.

        The spirit of Nottinghill.

        Woke up this morning and turned the TV on to have the latest news. Horror followed with the news of the burning tower block down the road. It was now about 9.00am so dashed down a coffee, dressed and headed off to see what could be done. My sister in law, Joanna Barker, directed me to St Peters church near the scene and I headed over there. Every road was jammed with fire engines and exhausted crews standing down. Passers by had brought them coffee and breakfasts, the first act of kindness. Walking on I made it round to St Peters church where loads of volunteers were busy sorting through donated bags of goods. Maggie Evans appeared to be in charge and was too busy to manage another minion and asked me if I would mind heading off to St Johns church on Ladbroke Grove. En route I passed the shop The Cross where volunteers were again sortings donations, more kindness, into womens, men, shoes, children, babies, water and food. There was too much so when the next woman, named Mary, arrived in a car they asked us to load the car and take it to St Johns church. We did.
        On arrival there was a great team of people busy sorting again and now rearranging the pews to make beds for the needy. Others were already in the kitchen brewing the first batch of tea and coffee. I was directed to help bring in donations. However, some people wanted to give money so the priest’s helper made a box up labeled ‘donations”. I got that job and sat outside at the gates rattling the box to any poor soul who came my way.
        Later we were told that we were overwhelmed by donations and to redirect them to other depots. Any car that turned up with a few bags was then persuaded to take extra bags and head off to Kensington & Chelsea Town Hall.
        And there were heroes. Loved the three, I think Jamaican, black cab drivers who circled round, got loaded to the gills and then drove the bags down to the town hall. They did not stop. Other members of the public pulling in were only too happy to load up and take more to the town hall. And everyone gave some cash into the box for the cause. I recall staff having a whip round at 20th Century Fox turning up with load of food and an envelope where they had gathered £700.
        So the day went on. In the end it was decided we were over stocked with food, which might perish so not to waste it, it was shipped off to the homeless people tonight.
        Tomorrow is another day. People might pause with their donations for 2-3 days until we have managed what we already have. In due course it will be passed along to the survivors to ease their situations. Many have offered accommodation for tonight if they have a spare room. I did but so far no call.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  June 16, 2017

          Well done, Trav. There are a lot of good folk in the world.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  June 16, 2017

          And then there are the loony Left downtickers.

          • Gezza

             /  June 16, 2017

            Give them one of 🌸 from time to time Al, another pansy for company.