tv BBC News at Five BBC News June 14, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm BST
today at five. we're in west london where a huge fire has swept through a residential tower block killing six people. police say the death toll could rise. up to 600 residents may have been in the flats when the blaze broke out in the early hours of the morning. eyewitnesses say they saw people trapped in their flats, shouting from their windows, trying to throw their children to safety. it's not clear what started the fire. london fire brigade‘s chief said she's not seen anything like it in 25 years of firefighting. —— 29 yea rs. it was so dark and so much smoke was there. there was people running down the stairs, some people had luggage, it was so much confusion. there was no sound of alarm or bells whatsoever. 20 people are in critical care after the blaze and many more are still unaccounted for. there's mothers that have come out
and lost their children, there are firefighters that have come out injured, that we don't even know if they're going to come out safe. worried families are desperately searching for news on their loved ones. these three girls are among the missing. the 2a storey grenfell tower is still burning in places as fire grenfell tower had recently been refurbished at a cost of £10 million. residents say they were astonished by how fast the flames spread. we will have the latest on this fast moving story in the next hour. a news conference now with the latest from the emergency services.
thanks very much for your patience. you will be aware that the london fire brigade received the first of a number of calls to a significant incidentjust number of calls to a significant incident just before number of calls to a significant incidentjust before 1am number of calls to a significant incident just before 1am this morning. a large number of cruise, operational firefighters, morning. a large number of cruise, operationalfirefighters, attended the scene. at its height, over a0 appliances and over 250 firefighters we re appliances and over 250 firefighters were tackling what was a significant and serious fire. you will have heard the commission mention that this was an unprecedented fire in terms of scale, speed and spread. the incident continues to be a challenging instant for us. i am extremely proud of the efforts of oui’ extremely proud of the efforts of our firefighters extremely proud of the efforts of ourfirefighters in extremely proud of the efforts of our firefighters in bringing extremely proud of the efforts of ourfirefighters in bringing this under control in what is a traumatic and difficult incident and i'm sure you will appreciate that this is still a live incident that we are dealing with and as such, i am limited in the information i can give you at this stage. we intend to
be here until the job give you at this stage. we intend to be here until thejob is done. working alongside my bluelight collea g u es working alongside my bluelight colleagues under my local authority colleagues, we will do everything we can to conclude this incident. but we certainly intend to be here through the night. the fire continues to provide challenge but i can confirm my firefighters, through their professionalism and their bravery, have been able to search almost all of the building now. it continues to give us challenges. at that point i'd like to hand over to my colleague, stuart, from the police. good afternoon and thank you for your patience. i've used —— as you've just heard from steve, this remains an active investigation for oui’ remains an active investigation for our colleagues from the fire brigade. sadly, ican our colleagues from the fire brigade. sadly, i can now confirm that there 12 people that have died that there 12 people that have died that we know of. this will be a long and complex recovery operation and i do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase
beyond those 12. the thought of all of those from the emergency services and i'm sure colleagues from the local council and all of london, our thoughts will be with all those affected by what is, as you have heard, a fire of significance that we have probably not seen in london for many, many years. i have said before and will reiterate, from police perspective, what's really important is that we identify and for everybody. we've had call handlers in our casualty bureau taking hundreds of calls today. our experience shows us in cases like this, it's very, very challenging to put a this, it's very, very challenging to puta numberon this, it's very, very challenging to put a number on how many people are unaccounted for. our priority is to those that we know would have been resident in grenfell tower, but there may have been those staying with family or friends, so if you have any concerns, please contact
the casualty bureau. if you've been reported missing all you reported somebody missing and they have now been found safe and well, i would reiterate, please contact the casualty bureau so we know that person is safe and well. thank you very much to all of the community around here for their patients. this is going to be a long operation, as isaid a is going to be a long operation, as i said a moment ago. notjust today, notjust tonight, i said a moment ago. notjust today, not just tonight, as we i said a moment ago. notjust today, notjust tonight, as we make sure that the fire is completely bit out, but then the recovery operation from the tower it self. it will be vitally important as we work closely with the coroner that we locate, identify all those who have tragically died within this truly, truly shocking fire. there are a numberof truly shocking fire. there are a number of reception centres that have them set up locally. there are a lot of people that have been truly affected by this fire. and i would request to you, the media, please
bear that in request to you, the media, please bearthat in mind request to you, the media, please bear that in mind with reporting of some of the imagery that i know has already gone out on social media. and at that point, i'd like to hand over to paul from the london ambulance service who can give us further details on casualties. good afternoon. i can confirm that as a result of the major incident here at g re nfell tower, result of the major incident here at grenfell tower, we result of the major incident here at g re nfell tower, we have result of the major incident here at grenfell tower, we have treated and taken to hospital 68 patients from the scene. those patients have been taken to six hospitals across london and 18 of those patients are currently receiving critical care. we are also aware of a further ten patients that have self presented, presented themselves to hospitals across london. our thoughts are clearly with everyone involved in this terrible tragedy and their friends and family at this time.
we've had over 100 of our clinicians and specialist teams here today supporting ongoing effort to manage this incident in support of collea g u es this incident in support of colleagues in the london fire brigade and the metropolitan police service. we've had significant numbers of our crews here overnight and this has been a very challenging and this has been a very challenging and complex incident that has been longing —— running overa and complex incident that has been longing —— running over a protracted length of time. i'm incredibly proud and grateful to the efforts of all the emergency service colleagues where we have worked in partnership to manage what has been a very difficult and challenging situation. we remain on scene with clinicians and specialist teams in support of the london fire brigade's rescue and recovery effort and i would ask londoners, as i have done on previous occasions today, to call us ina genuine previous occasions today, to call us in a genuine emergency only and to consider the use of nhs 111, gp or
pharmacy for less urgent needs whilst we continue to manage this incident. thank you. good afternoon, i'm councillor nick badgett brown, the leader of kensington and chelsea council and it goes without saying that this has been a terrible day for north kensington and i wanted to express my thanks and residents thanks for the enormous response we've had from the emergency services, the buyer ambulance and police have behaved magnificently on what has been a terrible day. —— the fire brigade, fabulous and police. 0ur fire brigade, fabulous and police. our thoughts are clearly with those who have lost their lives, those who are injured and those who are currently estranged or looking for other members of their family. the council has set up a number of emergency centres around grenfell tower and is supporting local people
who are making use of them at the moment. i am very grateful to those who have made donations of food and clothes to kensington town hall. that is hugely appreciated. i also wanted to thank other london boroughs, the mayor of london and a huge number of voluntary associations locally for the help that they have also offered. we will work very closely with all those who've lost their homes and we will make sure that we give them every support over the days and weeks ahead to find alternative accommodation is closed by as possible. clearly looking further ahead, there needs to be a full investigation as to the cause of this fire, wyatt started and why it appears to have spread so rapidly. —— why it started and wyatt appears to have spread so rapidly. that is a matter for investigation which the
council will support. we are happy to ta ke council will support. we are happy to take questions about are any. do you have a figure for how many people were evacuated and how many are unaccounted for?|j people were evacuated and how many are unaccounted for? i think it would be irresponsible if i were to put a figure out for those unaccounted for, because it's incredibly positive —— it's incredibly positive —— it's incredibly difficult to know that. i believe there are 120 flats, and they would be multi—occupancy, so there were a considerable number of people in grenfell tower last night. the tragic loss of life, we have heard from the london ambulance service the numbers taken to hospital, people still receiving critical care, so this is a truly, truly significant incident we are dealing with. what i can add, apart from those who were able to rescue themselves, the london fire brigade and over the —— themselves, the london fire brigade and overthe —— 60 by themselves, the london fire brigade and over the —— 60 by people they had rescued to the care of the
ambulance service. ijust wanted to ask you about the speed in which the fire spread. what was the fire service's reaction when they discovered how quickly the fire had spread in the tower block? the initial incident commander realised the fire was spreading more quickly than he would have expected so asked for further fire than he would have expected so asked forfurtherfire engines than he would have expected so asked for further fire engines as quickly as possible and then another incident commander made it a major incident commander made it a major incident very quickly, enabling us to step up more quickly than if it had been a slower process. the fire will be subject and is now subject ofa will be subject and is now subject of a full fire investigation alongside our colleagues in the met police and obviously any lessons learnt in this will be borne out, not just across learnt in this will be borne out, notjust across london, across the uk and lessons learnt globally. you say you have searched nearly all the
building. have you managed to reach every floor? i can confirm i have managed to get firefighters three particularly arduous conditions up to the top floor, hampered for some time bya to the top floor, hampered for some time by a fractured gas main which it was difficult to isolate, creating a hazard, but once it was isolated, crews were able to progress. conditions in the tower, and you can sleep yourself that the buyer has been burning for some time and the integrity of the building is and the integrity of the building is a problem, buti and the integrity of the building is a problem, but i can confirm that the fire officers did make it to the top floor. is it still burning? there are pockets in areas which are difficult to reach. hence i have said we will be on site for some time. i have got a limited crew inside because i need to limit the risk to my firefighters but what they are doing is looking at the situation. we have got drains from
kent fire service to be able to gain access and visibility to certain parts of the building in order to play -- parts of the building in order to play —— in order to plan parts of the building in order to play -— in order to plan further ahead. based on the enormous work our firefighters have done here, whilst we have accessed every floor, thatis whilst we have accessed every floor, that is not the same as a complete search of the whole building. what we currently have 12 fatalities, i do believe that figure will increase and sadly i do not think there will be further survivors. do you think it will rise significantly?” be further survivors. do you think it will rise significantly? i think it's too early for me to say that. lots of residents have said, councillor paget brown, that they had made complaints about the renovation work done on the building. can you confirm whether it you had those complaints and whether you had those complaints and whether you were acting on those? thank you,
i think that's going to have to be looked at in even more detail during the investigation behind that, but it is perfectly true that grenfell tower underwent a major refurbishment programme starting about two and a half years ago to improve the hot water system, to improve the hot water system, to improve their heating, to improve ventilation, put in new windows, new external cladding, to improve the quality of life for people who were living there. clearly when you do that, there are difficulties problems, complaints, logistics to resolve and it is undoubtedly the case that the council received some complaints about the way the work was being conducted. but we will need to look much more closely at how much of that corresponds to the cause of today's fire. is it true that there had been problems with power surges? i think, that there had been problems with power surges? ithink, ifi may, from an investigation perspective, this is very, very early stages. 0ur
absolute priority is about the recovery of anybody from grenfell tower, being cognisant of anything we might need to do for the investigation. like most people here, i investigation. like most people here, lam investigation. like most people here, i am aware there are a number of reports out there already which will be duly investigated by ourselves, the fire service and colleagues from the health and safety executive. it would be wrong to comment further at this time. safety executive. it would be wrong to comment further at this timem is far too early to say. there is reporting out there within some of the media coverage and clearly that will be one of the early things we look at in conjunction with the fire brigade bottasjust look at in conjunction with the fire brigade bottas just been look at in conjunction with the fire brigade bottasjust been explained by steve, it's too early to say that at this time. sorry? we are still fighting the fire and the investigation is that a very preliminary stage. we will take one more question if there is one. 0k,
thank you very much for your time, everybody. it is appreciated. so, you were hearing their representatives of the london fire brigade, london ambulance service and the metropolitan police, as well as the leader of the local borough council, kensington and chelsea council. let's bring you the main points. they were saying the death toll has badly risen from six to 12. that is known fatalities but commander stuart cundy from the metropolitan police stressing there that he appears very much that that death toll will rise. there are quite a number of people still unaccounted for. 12 dead is the latest death toll but another warning that that death toll is expected to rise. they were also saying that there are still pockets of flame. we have seen them ourselves in parts of the building. the fire brigade are saying there that those pockets of flame are still being tackled by firefighters and we have seen firefighters coming
up and we have seen firefighters coming up and down this road all day, some of them looking exhausted by the work they've been doing as they struggle to bring all the blame is still a light in the building under control. the fire brigade also saying that 65 people they managed to rescue. that is new information that we didn't know before. clearly we knew that had been a lot of rescues. a lot of people managed to get out themselves but they, the fire brigade, managed to rescue 65 people out of, well, we don't know the total number of people inside g re nfell tower the total number of people inside grenfell tower at the time, but possibly as many as 600 people were in there. that was something the police were particularly appealing for information about. anyone with information about relatives, whether they are safe or still unaccounted for, they want to hear from they are safe or still unaccounted for, they want to hearfrom people just to try to get their tallies, their figures just to try to get their tallies, theirfigures up just to try to get their tallies, their figures up today. we also heard that the london fire brigade told us that they have now managed told us that they have now managed to reach the top floor. they said
they have searched almost all of the building andi they have searched almost all of the building and i asked whether that included the top floor, its 2a stories high, 120 blacks altogether, and the london fire brigade said yes, they have managed to get to the top floor of grenfell tower and searched that as well. —— 120 flats altogether. they have been hampered by fractured gas pipes, they said. they have reached the very top of the building, there are still flames burning there, they are still trying to bring them under control, 65 people they managed to rescue, the death toll is now 12 and we also heard from the london abbey loan service that 68 people were taken to six different hospitals in london, 18 of those still in critical care, ten others took themselves to hospital. let's get a report on the day's horrific development here in london from my correspondent, richard lister. a terrifying inferno raging through
the night, home to hundreds of people engulfed in flames. residents waking up in panic. i could smell plastic, i went to the window and i could hear shouting and screaming, people shouting, it's getting bigger, it's getting bigger. there was bigger, it's getting bigger. there was cladding falling off the block that was on fire. people pleading —— screaming. you could see people at their windows waving and just wanting someone to come and rescue them from their flat. it was just awful. neighbours came desperate to help but with flaming debris falling from the tower block, their lives were also at risk. you need to ring 999, there is a dedicated line for this incident. 0n the ground police closed the nearby aao road, some 200 firefighters were brought in and led many residents to safety. more than 60 people were taken
to hospital and as it began to get light it was clear there were still people trapped in the building. what floor are you on? seven. as the tower block burned, people recalled the horror of what they had seen. i opened the door and there was big smoke everywhere. thought it might be safer to stay inside. then i find my neighbour and she said, get out, get out. look, he made a rope out of his blankets. it is going down there. others recalled the horror of what they had seen overnight. people screaming, jumping out on fire, climbing out on ropes that they had made from bed sheets, just a complete nightmare. people were throwing their kids and saying, just save my children.
the fire brigade and ambulance and police could do nothing. they could not get in. theyjust told them to stay where they are, we will come and get you. things quickly escalated. everyone is in shock. people are searching for people with pictures. apparently many kids from the school are missing. there were a lot of young kids and old people living in the block. it went right up, no stopping it. it was a dangerous night for firefighters, too, as they battled to get the fire under control and avoid falling debris. fire crews using breathing apparatus have been trying to access the building but it took hours for them to get to the top floor and they have a lot of work to do yet. i am very sad to
confirm there have been fatalities. i cannot confirm the number at the time —— at this time due to the size and complexity of this building. equally, the cause of the fire is not known at this stage. the incident that occurred overnight is truly shocking. it is going to take a period of time before we truly understand what has occurred, why it has occurred and the investigation will be complex and as you'd expect, very, very thorough. the tower block is now a smoking ruin. it should've been one of the safest in the borough as a multi—million pound refurbishment was completed last year. 125 families are now homeless and are the priority for the local authorities to deal with is that homelessness. we need to make sure we provide shelter for those who had to flee their homes and also the neighbouring properties affected. other questions, reasonable questions that the residents across the country will have
who live in tower blocks and we need to make sure they are answered. this is a community in shock, the immediate aftermath is horrific enough but there will be a long—term impact as well. this nurse helped survivors overnight. what i have seen today, i cannot even describe it. mothers that have come out and lost their children. firefighters that have come out injured. that we do not know if they're even going to come out safely. people have lost their homes, children have seen things, people jumping out of the windows. we just need to rebuild now as community. as the search for casualties continues, so does the search for answers. what led to this fire and, crucially, how did it spread so quickly in a newly modernised block? destroying homes, traumatising families, and taking an unknown number of lives. richard lister, bbc news. the mood here in this part of
kensington, it is grief, it is shock, but it is also anger, really, with so many questions about how a buyer of this ferocity could rip through a tower block of 2a stories with such devastating speed. huge questions about that especially when some residents had warned that they said it would take a catastrophic event to bring to the attention of the authorities some of the failings as they saw them of the via security system at that block at grenfell tower. let's give you a little idea of the geography of exactly where we are in london. the grenfell tower block is in west london, close to some of london's busiest transport routes. the building in north kensington is close to the aao westway which is a main route into central london. latimer road tube station is close by and transport networks in the area have been closed off this morning. grenfell tower itself was built in 197a and is 2a stories high. it was refurbished in may 2016 —
and contains 120 flats thought to be home to between a00 and 600 people. it is not known exactly how many people were in the block at the time but it is thought that most of those in their were asleep because it was just before 1am when the fire started and a lot of local eyewitnesses have said it started with a refrigerator on the fourth floor exploding. 0ur correspondent wyre davies who is overlooking the scene. what is the latest where you are? as you can see from behind me, there is still smoke billowing from the building itself, which is proof that the firefighters said that there are still pockets of fire still ablaze in the building, particularly in the middle and at the top of the building, despite almost unprecedented numbers of appliances
and firefighters at the scene. there we re and firefighters at the scene. there were incredible details in what the fire chief said, especially that given their long experience, none of them had seen a fire spread so quickly or with such ferocity. that is apparently what has caught everybody out there. witnesses in nearby homes told me watching fire spread from that the fourth, fifth, sixth floor with incredible speed, of course trapping many people as it went upwards. the building behind me now is almost completely gutted. the fire chiefs have told us that they've done a rudimentary search of all of the flaws but that does not constitute yet a full search and, sadly, they probably do expect to find bodies as they undertake a fingertip search throughout the whole of the building. earlier, we heard from the fire chief, danny cota n, heard from the fire chief, danny cotan, and she told us that she didn't expect the building itself to collapse, because that is of course a big consideration, but they are
clearly concerned about the integrity of this building. there does appear to be a lot of structural damage to the building, we have seen a lot of damage —— debut bowling of the building itself. one thing that has struck me is the incredible kindness of local residents. people have been donating clothes, food and more to the local churches, as the people who bled last night fled with nothing and they are now in need of almost everything. amid that kindness, there is also anger. people are desperately angry over warnings they said they gave. a community organisation here contacted us earlier today and it's clear from their website that over the years they have complained to the organisation which runs the tower block, complaining about an accident waiting to happen. complains that there were not enough water sprinklers, the fire alarms didn't
work and there were certainly concerns raised by the residents about the building materials used in the building and the refurbishment of the tower block and the fire risk that could have meant would have happened. i think there are many concerns that once this fire is put out, once the living and the dead had been accounted for, there will bea had been accounted for, there will be a lot of concerns about could this buy have been presented —— prevented. back to you. —— could this fire have been prevented? we were hearing from the london ambulance service that 68 people we re ambulance service that 68 people were taken to six hospitals, ten people took themselves. let's speak to our correspondents who are at the hospitals. smitha mundasad is at chelsea and westminster hospital and tulip mazumdar is at st mary's hospital near paddington. smitha, to you first. we arejust we are just three miles away from where the fire started and we have
just been told that seven patients are being treated here. that might be because this hospital has a specialist burns unit and, overnight, we understand that specialist doctors, plastic surgeons and other staff were drafted in as pa rt and other staff were drafted in as part ofan and other staff were drafted in as part of an emergency response. it may be that very convex operations have been taking place here today but earlier i spake to a local resident who lived on the same flaw that the fire started on. she came here to be checked out because she was 17 weeks pregnant and was so close to the fire when it began. a pregnancy is all 0k close to the fire when it began. a pregnancy is all ok but of course she is very scared and she says she hasn't heard from neighbours and friends and this very worried. at the hospital, the chief executive has said that anyone who isn't seriously injured or critically u nwell seriously injured or critically unwell should try to avoid this particular accident and emergency so that the staff have space to treat other people who were part of the fire last night and to give survivors a fighting chance.
thank you. and tulip mazumdar at saint mary ‘s not too far down the road. we are close by and we had an update from nhs england in the past half an hour. 16 people were being treated here at saint mary ‘s and now there are 11 being treated, three of them still in a critical ca re three of them still in a critical care situation. no details of those people being looked after, we expect updates throughout the afternoon and evening. but this is one of the four major trauma unit in london and so well prepared to deal with this kind of number of people with these sorts of number of people with these sorts of traumatic injuries. as we heard at chelsea and westminster hospital, we have had security here on the door of the hospital. there are advising people unless it is an emergency and unless you have an
appointment and a letter, do not come here. we have seen family members of people still looking for their missing loved ones, really quite harrowing scenes of them coming and trying to find their loved ones. they're also being advised by security here to call the emergency london metropolitan police line, bet is the best way to get information. so it has meant a difficult day staff and they swung into action with their major incident protocol which they have now had to use three times in three months. they dealt with people injured in the london attack and westminster bridge attack before that. so well versed in how to deal with a major incident like this but still an enormous challenge. indeed, thank you very much. just two of the six hospitals now treating more than 70 people altogether. we do not know exactly
how many people were in the block when it caught fire. estimates are anything up to 600. we heard from the fire brigade and they managed to rescue 65. others managed to get themselves out and those who did survive are in a number of emergency centres around here. not exactly clear where they will sleep tonight but many donations of food and water and so on. tom burridge has this report. grief when it's raw. this area is known for london's notting hill carnival. today, people struggling to comprehend how a fire could burn down a whole block of flats with such a devastating effect. this man escaped from his flat on the fourth floor. it was so dark and so much smoke. people with luggage, so much confusion. there was no sound of alarm
or bells whatsoever. this was really horrific. there was a man who threw two of his children. and this lady told us a friend and her three children were trapped high up in the building. a friend told me that they have been looking for her since 2am and they couldn't find anything. theyjust told me to go to hospital and as you have seen, we don't know nothing what happened. we don't know if they are alive or dead. i grabbed an extinguisher and i tried to put it out and it didn't work. we had no chance. the kitchen started to fill with smoke, so i had to run out of the building, grab my telephone and my passport and they are the only things i have got at the moment. when the left—hand side of the building was on fire, i remember seeing on the right—hand side, i remember seeing what i could tell was a woman and a young child, a young man or something, putting their heads out the window.
this community woke to a nightmare. whether an accident or something more sinister, this is for all the wrong reasons anything, but a normal day. as you can see, people have come out into the street this morning. there is disbelief, some anger too. there are the charred remains of the building all over the street here, it is littered, and there is a stench of the fire in the air. and this is a page of someone's maths homework. in no time, people rallied around. handing out and collecting, helping as they could. please do spread the word. if people just come down, empty their pockets, that would be amazing. people have just come out of their houses, come out of their homes. really via social media, weirdly, and the response is amazing. it's a very caring team in there. we were here two hours ago and we are back, so many more people.
there were this morning also small moments of relief and joy among all the sadness. i've just found out from a very good friend, her daughter was separated from her, we've just got news that, thank god, she has been found. it's just really, it is unbelievable. she has been found. she is in a hospital though. there was plenty of confusion about how many people have been killed, whether people this morning were still trapped. from the rumours circling among the residents here, it doesn't sound good. amidst all the horror we have seen and heard about today, also stories of amazing heroism. we heard from the fire brigade how the rescue 65
people from the inferno that engulfed the tower block. also great compassion, the community pulling together. this man is from the muslim cultural heritage centre, the mosque about a mile away. you have been offering help to those who have been offering help to those who have been evacuated and survived this terrible tragedy. we have been here since this morning and receiving a lot of supplies, toiletries and food. volunteers have also been working all day to prepare hot meals for people. the response has been really amazing. it is hard to describe the generosity of the public. it was something to talk about maybe at some other point but the response has been really positive. this is a multicultural, multi ethnic area, with many religions. all sorts of people from
different backgrounds. people come from a variety of nationalities and religions. they have been living together in harmony without any problems. and the response shows that. the mosque has opened its doors. to all people. people of faith or no faith. anyone is welcome to come in either to have a shower and have some food or even sleep there. this is how it has been throughout the day. people all saying the same thing, people who are volunteering come from all across different faith groups. are volunteering come from all across different faith groupsm are volunteering come from all across different faith groups. it is just amazing. are you shocked that a building like this in 2017 could go up building like this in 2017 could go up inflames building like this in 2017 could go up in flames so quickly. it was a very shocking experience. still hard to comprehend. and also the number
of people that have been affected is quite shocking. we already have members of staff whose families where involved and we do not know their whereabouts at present. we la st their whereabouts at present. we last heard from them at the beginning of the fire and there were still alive but later on we could find out nothing about them. so we're just waiting for this fight is to disclose the calamity and its impact on the community, those living in the building. welll know you are very busy but thank you very much for being with us. what a huge number of questions about how this blaze could take old so fast and spread so rapidly with such deadly effects. amongst the questions that the residents have been asking, for a number of months, whether there were sufficient smoke alarms, whether the staircase in the
middle of the blog was enough. also questions about why residents were being told in the instructions to stay in their homes and wait to be rescued. this report from simon gompertz on the investigation and all the remaining questions. shocked witnesses talked about the speed at which the smitha mundasad fire spread. —— the tab on. it seemed to envelop the building industry in minutes. investigators will be asking how that could have happened. i was taking videos and it was from the bottom straight to the top and moving across the building. i would save the movement across the entire building took no more than half an hour. the tower was built in 1973 but had an extensive refurbishment last year. attention is focusing already on the rain proof cladding added on the outside to boost insulation. the worry, this is just speculation at the moment, but the fire could have spread
across it. the cladding system is to prevent water ingress into the building but it also creates a cavity around the back between the outside face of the building and concrete structure itself. it should have fire stops at each floor level and should be noncombustible to prevent it acting as a chimney. residents had more concerns that the advice was to remain behind the fire reta rda nt advice was to remain behind the fire retardant doors of their flat rather than escape, to stay put. under there was no central bar alarm system. these are practices which depend on fire being containable in one area of the building. the residents action group they flagged dangers but the warnings fell on deaf ea rs dangers but the warnings fell on deaf ears and they had predicted a catastrophe —— a catastrophe like this was inevitable. there are a number of tower blocks across london and other major cities and responsibility lies with the local authority or private management companies and they need to make sure
that tower blocks are safe. i will be asking questions raised by the fire last night, the kind of questions but viewers are asking, better being asked by the residents. answers will be crucial to ensure that other tower blocks are not in danger and to address worries that fire officers might not have had easy enough access to the building. tower blocks are designed to avoid this kind of thing happening firefighters would normally fight a firefighters would normally fight a fire like this from the inside, going up the fire escape and fighting using internal drive risers and mains and clearly that was not possible in this case. the company in charge of the refurbishment last year told the bbc their workmates all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards. they fully support enquiries into the fire. but to avoid further catastrophic fires the respected fire protection association says the increasing use
of combustible materials in construction needs to be addressed. that is likely to be major focus for investigators. 0ne one thing that is being addressed we are hearing from government is glad this through the police and fire minister, that actually at the moment right now checks are to be carried out on a similar tower blocks undergoing similar refurbishments to the one here that caught fire apparently so easily last night. it was refurbished last year as we know and at a cost of £10 million. some of the residents believe the cladding put onto the blog may have been responsible in pa rt blog may have been responsible in part for the fire spreading so quickly. so now there is to be government ordered checks on similar tower blocks going through similar refurbishments and renovation work. sir ken knight is a former chief fire officer with the london fire brigade. do you have any idea as a
retired firefighter what could have gone wrong? can ijust say retired firefighter what could have gone wrong? can i just say what a horrific scene it was, that we all woke up to this morning. we have never seen the like in this country andi never seen the like in this country and i did not see in my a0 years as and i did not see in my a0 years as a fire officer. horrific for the residents and the whole community. i just want to take a moment to pay tribute to all emergency services and hospitals and especially london fire brigade who had professional firefighters going into that block as people were having to come out. we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for what they've done. but in order to come to your question, it would be wrong to speculate at this stage. from my experience of a long time in the fire and rescue service i know there will be now a number of enquiries and looking at what happened and how the fire started and how it spread. all of those concerns will be addressed as they wear in camberwell in south london
after that fire. we heard from residents saying the cladding around the buildings into all must act as a chimney and went up like paper. we've seen in other parts of the world similarfires. we've never seen it in this country. some significant bias in south america and the middle east. we have not seen that here and fact after the fire in camberwell new guidance was published by the local government association initiated by the government department that talked about purpose—built flats and there isa about purpose—built flats and there is a particular section on external cladding and the importance of fire resista nce cladding and the importance of fire resistance in the way it is applied. soi resistance in the way it is applied. so i think it is too early but i think the speed of spread of the fire and raked up the upside of the building is incredibly unusual and something that no doubt will be addressed in the investigations. and
addressed in the investigations. and a moment ago we heard that the government has instructed checks on other similar buildings and i think thatis other similar buildings and i think that is the right thing to do. the residents clearly were worried ahead of the fire, months ago, about the possibility of a catastrophic fire. they actually said it will take a catastrophic fire for all these fa u lts catastrophic fire for all these faults to become apparent. how worried are you about that and particularly there was this warning written out in the block that people should stay in their homes in the event of a fire rather than leaving their flats and trying to escape. of course the whole of that, the basis of that advice which may be good advice was the assumption that fire would not come in from outside the flats and it looks as if it might have done in this case and the investigation will reveal that. but instead will spread from other flats and so the integrity of the building, the fire resistance of the flats themselves, the separations, would stop the fire spreading to
that central core of escape. so that advice assuming that fire would not spread from the outside was right. soi spread from the outside was right. so i would've expected in this case there would be those hard wired smoke detectors inside each flat at the time of refurbishment to meet current building regulations. thank you very much. let's get more in terms of analysis on what could've been the reasons for the fire spreading so rapidly through the building. we can talk to martin conlon, chair of the building control professional group at the royal institute of chartered surveyors . royal institute of chartered surveyors. thank you forjoining us. we note that the building was built in 197a, refurbished last year at a cost of £10 million. the company responsible said all necessary fire
regulations and health and safety standards were met. how rigorous do you think that those checks are. that remains to be seen. i'm sure the investigation will feature this. clearly the fire travelled externally and very rapidly so that needs to be looked at seriously as a significant contributing factor as to what the cause was and how it came about. how surprised you that the tower block, a 2a story tower block with 120 flats, could just go up block with 120 flats, could just go up inflames block with 120 flats, could just go up in flames so quickly, but the fire could spread and apparently spread on the left—hand side and then over to the right—hand side very quickly. this is a situation. i had never seen anything like this outside a hollywood movie. in 2009
in camberwell there was an indication with problems of older flats and cladding and care and attention needed to be taken. what happened in this case must still be determined but there was following that fire in 2009 good guidance was produced by the national house—building council and that pointed out some of the factors leading to be dealt with and baghdad. whether they have been will be subject to this investigation. you say it is a one—off but there has to be huge investigations on safety sta nda rds, has to be huge investigations on safety standards, pretty much on all the tower blocks in the united kingdom. anything that has been refurbished i would say needs to be looked at. clearly the specifications dealt with in this particular case again, we do not know at the moment and how things went about we're not aware. that needs to come up with investigation. but it is a sound principle to have
a look at all refurbishment of this particular type. thank you very much. we have been talking about the huge community effort around here and all these streets in terms of people donating food and blankets to those who have been evacuated and who are now homeless, offering people a bad for the night as well. let's go to our correspondent at the rugby portobello trust reception centre, one of the emergency centres looking after people of the people are pretty traumatised ? after people of the people are pretty traumatised? yes, emotions running high at the moment as news trickles through about loved ones and people hearing not great news about that. this is a central information point, all through the day people have been coming here, many residents who have been evacuated from grenfell tower and
surrounding towers as well. they can get some food and water and also search for missing loved ones. earlier on some of the residents we re earlier on some of the residents were told they could not go back home and abroad to find alternate accommodation for the night. the elderly and people with children can be housed but they did not have enough resources to how everyone. just give us an idea, you talked about obviously a huge distress people are feeling, the anxiety about people who are unaccounted for. do the people who have been evacuated know where they're going to be sleeping tonight, if they have a bed for the night because so many people are now homeless? lots of people are now homeless? lots of people do not know where they're sleeping tonight, they're scrambling and trying to find family and friends to take them on. i spoke to a young mother about an hour ago who was panicking because they did not
know anyone in the area. and they we re know anyone in the area. and they were not sure what they were going to do. they were speaking to volu nteers to do. they were speaking to volunteers to try to find out. volu nteers volunteers to try to find out. volunteers are also speaking about the emotional support required. behind me there are stacks of bottles of water, food and clothing in fact, yellow notices outside the centre saying do not donate any more. but in terms of emotional support and things like accommodation, they still need that kind of back—up. and so overwhelming support but they still need some more accommodation offers and emotional counselling for people going through quite a lot of stress today. thank you very much. politically the prime ministers that she is deeply saddened by what happened here today, the death toll just to bring you up to date has now risen to 12 and police say they expect it to rise further as well.
68 people were taken to hospital as well. jeremy corbyn the labour party leader said there are many questions and he wants answers to those questions from the government and authorities very quickly. 0ur political correspondent is at westminster with the latest. you can see in the building behind me there has just been a meeting concluded, what is called the civil contingencies secretariat. a meeting of senior ministers, cabinet ministers and officials to discuss the government response to what has happened. it has just concluded and it was chaired by the police and fire minister nick hurd who gave a short interview after that meeting was concluded and said of course his thoughts were with those affected. and the priority was making sure the emergency services had the support they needed and of course those caught up in the fire have the support as well. no details on what
exactly was going to be offered to residents and family and friends of those affected. but he did say he was reassured that there was capacity in place. he also addressed concerns of other people living in tower blocks who may be worried that they could be affected by similar incidents. he said there would be a process to identify other tower blocks in a similar stage of refurbishment. and then there would be checks and inspections to make sure those buildings were safe and residents there could be reassured. he said he recognised this was an issue. and as far as the emergency response went he said he recognised there was a good response, there was noissue there was a good response, there was no issue of resources he said and emergency response arrived in good numbers and with the right equipment. you mentioned there had been some criticism and the mood here in westminster is still much ——
is still one of giving condolence but some labour mps have questioned whether lessons had been learned from previous fire in south london ina from previous fire in south london in a tower block in 2009. there was an inquest into that that made recommendations. questions about whether building regulations are up—to—date. nick hurd the police and fire ministers saying he did not wa nt to fire ministers saying he did not want to get drawn into that but his priority was just about the emergency response. but we heard from the labour leaderjeremy corbyn earlier in the day. i think actually we can hear from the police and fire minister... it is the worst nightmare anyone can think of, fire ina nightmare anyone can think of, fire in a tower block and sympathy, support and solidarity to all those stuck in the tower who have managed to be rescued or lost loved ones or do not know what has happened to their friends do not know what has happened to theirfriends and do not know what has happened to their friends and family. and a huge thank you to the fire service, police and ambulance and all other emergency services that got there so quickly. the fire service were on the scene within six minutes but
fighting fire in a massive tower block like grenfell tower is a huge and very dangerous undertaking. just think about it, we're wanting to get out as quickly as we can but the firefighters and police have to go in to that incredibly dangerous place and we rely on them. i think we can now hearfrom place and we rely on them. i think we can now hear from the police and fire minister nick hurd who was chairing the meeting of officials and government ministers in the building behind me. we are all coping with the shock and profound sadness at the horrific scenes at grenfell tower last night. 0ur scenes at grenfell tower last night. our thoughts are with the victims of the tragedy and friends and families of those looking for information and a nswe rs. of those looking for information and answers. we are determined to make sure the government and the system
of public services is working in the most effective way to support the first responders and emergency support services but also those being caught up in this horrific tragedy, to make sure they have the support and information they need. we had a meeting of senior blisters and officials from across the system and officials from across the system andi and officials from across the system and i leave that feeling reassured that the resources are in place and capacity in place to support people through this immediate emergency response. what are you doing to make sure other tower blocks are safe question mark that was discussed in the meeting, recognised as an issue because people out there are going to need reassurance. we discussed with the local authorities and fire service process whereby we seek to identify towers that might be in a similar process of refurbishment. and when a system of checks as quickly as possible to give reassurance to people. and no money
spared for that? it is not an issue of resources, everyone i spoke to on the front line, resources have not been the issue. people arrived in good numbers, very quickly and with the proper equipment to deal with an unprecedented situation last night. the fire commissioner said that had not been seen in 29 years, a fire like that. we are determined to support emergency services and also the people caught up in this tragedy. due except mp claims that ministers ignored warnings that building regulations needed to be updated, they were woefully out of date? i'm not going to comment on that, i hope people will understand the priority for government at the moment is to manage the emergency response and deal with lives to be saved and lives to be rebuilt and make sure we have the support in place for this emergency response. that venerable move into recovery
phase and then we move into a phase where we seek to answer questions that people quite understandably have so we really understand what happened here, what went wrong, what did not work. so we do not find herself in this situation because i do not think anyone wants to go through another night like last night. can you reassure people that lessons will be learned? councillor robert atkinson is here. what are your thoughts tonight? this is my ward and i'm overwhelmed by the tragedy better fit ordinary londoners, they should not be happening in the 21st century. this is truly shocking and appalling. my constituents are devastated and confused. the community has rallied around and has provided food, drink and clothing for the residents. my immediate priority is that the
council must now housed 125 families. that is a tall order given the pressure on housing in london but the council must do it. and our council is wealthy enough to do it if they choose to do so. i have been promised that they will and let's make them do that. then when we do not willing to find out how my constituents came to die in these awful circumstances. thank you very much. the labour councillor for this ward where this terrible tragedy happened. we've heard from the police in the last few minutes, that the death toll which was standing at six is now at 12 but they expect that death toll to rise further. a number of people are unaccounted for, more than 70 people have been taken to hospital and 18 of them are in critical care. the fire brigade saying that they rescued 65 people. that is the latest from here but much more now with the six o'clock news. is expected to rise.
up to 600 people lived here. the fire broke outjust before 1 this morning — fire crews were on the scene just six minutes later. you need to ring 999. there is a dedicated line for this incident. eyewitnesses say the flames engulfed the 2a story within 30 minutes, with people desperately trying to escape. there was smoke everywhere, literally everywhere. there were people downstairs, bits of the cladding were falling off the block that was on fire. people screaming. the fire was still raging as dawn broke and it's feared many are still unaccounted for.