this is bbc news. i'm reeta chakrabarti. the headlines at 11: at least 12 people have died in a huge fire which engulfed a tower block in west london, and the number of fatalities is expected to rise. up to 600 people may have been in the flats when the blaze broke out in the early hours of the morning. they need to ring 999! there's a dedicated line for this incident! 0k? eyewitnesses say they saw people trapped in their flats shouting from their windows, trying to throw their children to safety. there was smoke everywhere, literally! there were people downstairs and things falling down! screaming. people screaming. the london fire brigade desperately struggled to reach the upper floors but were repelled by the heat and falling debris. residents have been taking shelter in nearby community centres, some are still looking
for missing relatives. and she said, we cannot do it because the smoke is killing us, smoke is coming! it is everywhere. that was the last thing i heard from her. there's no word yet on the cause of the blaze. residents say they had raised concerns about fire safety in the block. around 70 people are being treated in six london hospitals, 18 of them are in a critical condition. the block had recently been refurbished. ministers have ordered urgent checks on buildings where similar work has been carried out. good evening, and welcome to bbc news. many people remain unaccounted for tonight in west london after a 2a—storey tower block in north kensington
was destroyed by fire. police have confirmed 12 people dead so far, but that figure is expected to rise significantly as the emergency services deal with what they say is a "complex recovery operation." grenfell tower was home to as many as 600 residents and some of them had repeatedly raised concerns about fire safety in recent years. grenfell tower is part of a social housing complex of nearly 1,000 homes near the westfield shopping centre in west london. there were 120 flats on 2a floors. most of the residents would have been asleep when the fire started. the alarm was raised just before iam in the morning and fire crews were there within six minutes. the cause of the fire isn't known, but the block had recently been refurbished and ministers have ordered emergency checks on towers where similar work has been carried out. 0urfirst report on the tower block fire is by our home editor, mark easton, and there are some distressing images from the start. oh my god, they're screaming!
it is a tragedy that plays to our darkest fears. there was smoke everywhere, literally everywhere. there was people downstairs, bits of the block, cladding, falling off the block. that was on fire. screaming. people screaming. the fire started between midnight and 1am. the screams from the flats and the acrid smell of burning, waking neighbours. oh, my god! it wasjust people jumping out, literally. and putting sheets down to try to get out of the building. windows exploding, big, massive pieces of debris falling to the floor. we came here, saw people jumping off. people calling... you saw people jumping off? yeah. people had jumped off because they had no other option to. how high up? the top floor. i saw someone jump. someone was on fire and they jumped too. he didn't make it.
some people have picked up their kids and threw them out for the police to pick them up because there was no other way out of the building. did you see that as well? i saw kids standing at the window screaming, "help me, help me, i can't breathe, help me." and all these people that... ..that have lost people in their lives. i know how that feels, you know? my heart goes out to them. the blaze tore through the 2a—storey council block in this part of north kensington. fire officers managed to rescue a large number of people and help others escape. 0n the seventh floor, this family were led to safety. there was smoke everywhere, people screaming. the neighbours were coming out. there was a fireman there going, "get out, get out." iran back injust my boxer shorts, put my dressing gown on, grabbed the little girl,
put her under my dressing gown to cover her face from the smoke, got my girlfriend up. ran down the stairs, we're on the seventh, as we're running down we've gone to the fourth floor and it was pitch black. this mother and her six—year—old son were also trapped on the seventh floor. for a moment, she thought her best option was to jump through the window with her child in her arms. for a split second, i had that temptation, to jump over. because the smoke was... you thought about jumping from the building? yeah. and then your husband grabbed you and took you out. i called 911, they sensed... 0therwise my second thought was, you know, let's justjump. many residents have complained to me that the fire alarm was too quiet to hear and that the blaze raced from the bottom to the top of the block in less than half an hour. all the time we have lived there they said there if there are any fires you have to stay in the flat because the fire can't penetrate the front door, if we stayed in the flat we would have all perished, there is no way
it was recently refurbished but tenants were worried and warned the authorities they feared the block was a disaster waiting to happen. we tried to take lots of things to the local mp and it looks like it has been ignored. but we were scared this could happen, because if there is one fire happened, we knew would happen. deep poverty and extraordinary wealth live side by side in this part of north london. the block was home to some of kensington‘s poorest families. with dawn, came grim, if expected, news that lives had been lost. i am looking for my brother. was he in the flat at the time? yeah. many people, numb with shock, frantically searched to find missing friends and relatives. this woman's sister and 12—year—old nephew were unaccounted for. my sister with her son, yeah. how old was he? he is 12 years old. that is why i am scared. a 12—year—old boy? as well as the smoke
and the thick smell in the air, a tension, numb shock, hangs over this area. in the 21st century, in a country with some of the strictest fire regulations in the world, a desperate tragedy like this just should not happen. what floor are you on?! huh?! seven, yeah? well into the morning, the crowds watching the horror unfold in front of them reported seeing people still trapped in the block. i saw somebody there. waving, in white. in a white shirt? white shirt, yeah. a man was eventually brought out by the emergency services at noon. this off—duty nurse helped tend to some of the injured rescued from the building. i have seen some things, but today... i can't even describe it. there are mothers that have come out and lost their children. there are firefighters that
have come out injured. we don't know if they are even going to come out safe. people have lost their homes, children have seen things, people jumping out the window. we just need to rebuild as a community now. and how the community responded. people just did what they could. this woman went to her wardrobe, grabbed a bag of her own clothes to give to those who had none. a bag of clothes, to me, is nothing when i could help somebody else, you know? but this is a community where a lot of people don't have a lot, and that kind of generosity is quite something. i know but, you know, they could be replaceable. my clothes could be replaceable. this is terrible! it is a disaster for this community. we are pulling together, the people that have nothing are getting things for the people that have nothing. sadly, i can confirm that there are now 12 people that have died that we know.
this is going to be a long and complex recovery operation. and i do anticipate that the number of fatalities will, sadly, increase beyond those 12. this is a neighbourhood that feels ignored. there's anger on the streets. people demanding answers. this is your building, isn't it? we have a number of high—rise buildings here and in other parts of london. they do have to meet stringent safety and fire safety standards, and in a refurbishment, there will be a thorough inspection by the fire authorities, so... doesn't appear to have worked, though, does it? it clearly hasn't worked, and we will need to get the bottom of what has gone wrong. london's mayor promised a thorough and independent investigation into what happened. my thoughts and prayers, as i am sure the thoughts and prayers of the entire country, are with the family and friends of those in the building and affected by this tragic and horrific fire.
i also pay tribute to the amazing emergency services, from the fire service, we have more than 250 firefighters, many have been here from the beginning. once the scene is secure and the recovery is complete then an investigation will take place into the cause of the fire, and if there are lessons to be learned. until then, focus must be on ensuring that the emergency services have what they need to continue with their harrowing work. the streets of north kensington are littered with ashes. the charred homework of a school child blown from grenfell tower. this neighbourhood is also shrouded with grief from a tragedy that's not over. mark easton, bbc news, north kensington. sarah corker is there. this was a scene of utter devastation. the
building is still on fire. yes. i am on the edge of the cordon in north kensington. behind me, that is the black, smouldering wreck of groenefeld tower. —— grenfell tower. firefighters are going to work through the night once again in difficult conditions. we have a police presence at the cordon. i have seen fire engines coming through in the last half an hour or so. through in the last half an hour or so. there have been checks through the day in the building and the fire service said a couple of hours ago it is not at risk of collapsing. they have also been using drones to check the integrity of the building. as you can imagine, there will be some areas that are very difficult to get to. this is still a very difficult recovery operation. and
for those many people who have had to flee their homes and are being looked after, those in community centres and so on around the area, how are they? how are they coping? yes, well, after the horror of last night, as you said, many hundreds of people are now homeless. some are still unaccounted for. family and friends are anxiously waiting for news of loved ones that they have not heard from since last night. but speaking to people in this area, there is a large crowd gathered around the cordon now. they have all said the community effort has really been overwhelming. the response from the people living here in the last half an hour or so. i have seen one man come down handing out pizza to people, another woman with cakes, another woman with a trolley for the
disbursal of food. they will be here across the borough. we have been to one of the centres, the westway centre, where many people have been. people have been coming down to donate food, clothes, water, sleeping bags, anything they can do to help. speaking to those caught up in this, what they have said is some of them just had the clothes they we re of them just had the clothes they were wearing when they left this tower block last night. that generosity is very striking. we will be back to you soon, no doubt, sarah. many thanks. throughout the day, stories emerged of people who'd managed to escape from the tower block, and watched the fire as it swept through the building. many are now being sheltered in nearby community centres. and that's where the families and friends of those still missing are also gathering, going from centre to centre to try to find their loved ones.
our special correspondent, lucy manning, has been talking to some of the families affected by the tragedy. there air was punctuated with the sound of crying. some have lost their home. 0thers, much, much more. they gathered outside the community centre, but the one thing no—one could offer was good news. for the shakir family, it was, understandably, too much. my mum, my sister, her daughters and her husband. they are all still in the building. i don't know if they are out, we do not know any information. susan gave us this picture of her three smiling nieces. mirna, fatumah, and three—year—old zeinab. what floor where your family on? the 22nd. you have not been able to contact them? i phoned my sister during...
you know, when she was in there. all i could hear was screaming and i was trying to tell her get out, get to the nearest fire exit and ijust heard people screaming. i was shouting so she could hear, you know? even the police officer heard me shouting on the phone, you know? i wanted to go in, do something i felt hopeless just standing there. you know? a blanket, at least, so people could jump out of the window. in the last few hours, susan heard news that somebody might have spoken to her family. she still doesn't know if it is true. mohammed's taxi sits idle, his family are using it to appeal for help. the 57—year—old was on the 23rd floor but they have heard nothing for hours. my brother was on the phone to him for two and a half hours, he was saying "help me, help me!" the fire brigade was barricading them in, the smoke was going up the stairs from the fourth floor and they said the
situation was under control and everything would be all right. then he just went missing, his phone was not answering no more. we have been to all the hospitals, nothing. this man escape from the block but other relatives are injured. two are still in a coma, they had so much smoke in their body. after the panic of last night, families today struggling with the silence. my brother—in—law, his wife and three children are missing. the children ages are 20, the boy is 20, a girl of 16—17, and a boy of eight years. ahmed spoke to them as they were trapped. i said why are you not coming? she said they asked us to stay, my husband is talking to the emergency people. she said everything is all right, they are coming to get us. but the heat is coming.
i said, look, get a wet blanket, but the kids on the floor and cover them and wait. she said we can't do it because the smoke is killing us, it is coming. tonight, ahmed said he believes his relatives could be in one of the hospitals. we were allowed to speak to survivors who had escaped and reached the safety of the community centre. i woke up at about 12:45 in my living room to "help me, help me! a woman screaming "my baby, my baby! and also the sounds of chaos. police were coming through the walkway, knocking on every door, "evacuate!" "get the hell out of there, this is going up." edward was saved by his friend will calling him telling him to leave. the smoke was so thick, you could not see anything. i got like maybe three quarters of the way and i was using my hands to feel against the wall, but i began thinking to myself this will be me.
i am going to die of smoke inhalation. there was actually a fireman lying on the ground, this fireman saved my life, to be honest, he touched my foot and led me where the fire exit was. ed was instrumental in raising concerns about the safety of the building years ago. this accident never needed to have happened. if people had listened to what we were saying, what the block was saying, what people, notjust me, but other members of the community were saying. well, inside the centre, those waiting for news or who have lost their homes are gathered downstairs in the hall. as you can imagine, it is a fairly distressing situation. at times, people are sobbing as they wait for news. news that at this stage will possibly not be good. they have no homes to go back to.
and now, it is notjust the burned—out building that looms over this community, but the fear that many more of their neighbours have died. lucy manning, bbc news. the cause of the fire is, as yet, unknown. kensington and chelsea council says it will be fully investigated and that the tower block was regularly inspected. some residents say they had been warning about the risk of fire. our home affairs correspondent tom symonds reports on what the investigation into grenfell tower will be looking at. a deathtrap — that is what some residents believe grenfell tower was. their high—rise home in ashes, friends and relatives dead, injured or fighting for their lives. they say, we told you something was going to happen, again and again. the proof of that was not hard to find. this is a blog by the tower‘s residents' association which says... "it is a truly terrifying thought, but the grenfell action group firmly believes that only a catastrophic event will expose the inept
and incompetence of our landlord, the kctmo. the kensington & chelsea tenant management 0rganisation, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders." it was posted last november. we repeatedly reported concerns to the tenant management organisation of the royal borough of kensington & chelsea, including fire safety concerns which were not investigated during the regeneration works. they included concerns about this advice to residents to stay put inside a flat if there was a fire outside. there were also reports of faulty safety equipment, power surges and inadequate fire alarms. the tower is owned by the council, but in the i990s the tenants management 0rganisation took over. professional managers joined by a board of tenants and councillors, including judith blakeman, she says she repeatedly argued on behalf
of worried residents. they just kept saying, "we are very concerned about it. we've not been properly reassured. we would like an independent reassurance to put our minds at rest. you keep telling us, you, the manager, you the freeholder, that everything is all right. but we want to see an independent assessment." that was never provided. they were told it was not needed. and it wasn't just the grenfell, this is the adair tower, it has the same management. there was a fire here too in 2015, arson. luckily, there was no loss of life. following what happened here, the management was issued with an enforcement order by the fire brigade. it set out a string of failings. failings to ensure preventative measures to properly assess the risk. failure to offer a well marked escape route and to have an emergency plan. people were angry then, now they're furious. jose has lived here for 30 years,
he has friends fighting for their lives after the grenfell fire, just a mile away. in this tower we've had a fire, it's happening too often. three towers, three fires. yeah, within a year. in your tower here, what changes were made following the fire in 2015? basically, they put signs up, which we didn't have. they changed the doors. the fire doors, which they weren't. basically, that's it. so do you think that's enough? no, no it's not. the grenfell tower was last given a comprehensive fire risk assessment 18 months ago during its refurbishment, when it was covered with new cladding. the management organisation refused to discuss the case in detail tonight, but did say this. any work that was done during the refurbishment was completed and signed off and actually that's our position and that's what we will be able to show as we go
through this inquiry. but this fire, unprecedented in modern times, will be deeply disturbing for those living in high—rise flats. the government has already ordered a review. we seek to identify towers that might be in a similar process of refurbishment, run a system of checks and inspections so that we as quickly as possible can give reassurance to people. the investigation will begin once the exhausting task of putting out the inferno at the grenfell tower is complete. getting to the bottom of why it spread so fast could take months. tom symonds, bbc news, west london. more than 70 people were treated at six london hospitals, 18 of those are still in critical care. most are suffering effects of smoke inhalation. 0ur medical correspondent fergus walsh has been looking at the response of the 100 medical staff who were called to the scene. for the third time in as many months, london's medical teams responded to a major emergency.
paramedics, trauma specialists and the airambulance were all involved, some of whom treated patients in the recent terror attacks. the key — to stabilise patients and get them to hospital. at st mary's we're caring for 16 patients, three of whom are in a critical condition. at charing cross hospital we have four patients, none of whom are critical. we are continuing to care for patients who are primarily suffering from the affects of smoke inhalation. inhaling smoke can damage the lungs and airways and may also cause carbon monoxide poisoning. specialist burn teams were on standby, but it's understood they did not treat any casualties. 12 hours after it broke out, a toxic cloud was still billowing from grenfell tower, leading to concerned residents handing out face masks donated by local firms. people are breathing in the smoke
here and there's lots of soot and there's also, you know, toxic substances that have been used in the building that we're aware of. and everywhere you look, in the surrounding area, are these blackened, sooty fragments. this child ren's playground is littered with pieces of debris which have floated the down from the building and are what appear to be pieces of insulation from the outside of the tower block, and you can taste the soot at the back of your throat. everyone's main concern is for the residents of g re nfell tower, but there are worries too for those living nearby. we find it hard to breathe and we felt like we were tasting that smoke. so we don't know the damage it will have on our lungs. we have lots of residents who are vulnerable, elderly people, people with severe disabilities, so we're concerned for them. little children as well,
children under the age of five. the hospitals involved say their accident & emergency departments remain very busy. they've asked the public to use walk—in centres or their gp unless it's an emergency, allowing them to focus on those injured in this appalling tragedy. reverend doctor michael long as a minister of the methodist church close by and hejoins me now from west london. thank you so much for giving us some of your time. you must have had a perfectly exhausting and traumatic day. i am not certain if it is traumatic, i think people have had a far worse state than we ever today. what have you been doing? we we have had the church open and have turned up bringing all
people have turned up bringing all kinds of goods, food, drink, many local people have arrived, many of whom we have never seen before, and worked really lived they have worked really lived % : goods. range of goods. people have been sorting and arranging them and trying to liaise with other centres as well. effectively, the church as as well. effectively, the church as a community centre now ‘ “girl‘s stage i aci, 5 be able to get those goods we will be able to get those goods to the people who need them most. what have people been saying to you? a matter of disbelief and horror. people are amazed at the community spirit at the same time. we have our people arriving with vanloads of from all over london. we have people who are muslim, christian, and
people of no faith working alongside each other, equally moved by this appalling tragedy. you describe the feelings of disbelief. what do people said to you? people are stunned, really. appalled at what has happened. there are people still trying to find news of people close to them, friends and so on, and that will take some time to find out what has happened to them will stop what are you able to say to them? i'm not certain there is much we can say. we are therefore them and staying with them and accompanying them, letting them and accompanying them, letting them know that there are people who support and think of them and pray for them. fostering that sense of community that we heard about repeatedly today. yes. absolutely. we have not done a lot, we have been
a catalyst to the community to show the sort of people they are here. thank you so much for giving us some of your time. some of the day ‘s now in brief. —— other news now in brief. tim farron has resigned as leader of the liberal democrats, saying he wasn't able to reconcile his christian faith with the demands of leading a "progressive" liberal party. the number of libdem mps increased from eight to twelve while he was in charge borough market in london has reopened 11 days after the terror attack that killed eight people. traders held a minute's silence to remember the victims and said returning to their businesses marked the start of a ‘healing process' for the market community. b in the us state of virginia a senior republican politician has been critically injured in a gun attack.
steve scalise, a whip in the house of representatives, was one of five people shot as they practiced for a charity baseball game. the gunman died after police returned fire. it is time for a look at the weather. by the weekend, temperatures across southern parts of the uk could be the 27 degrees we saw at heathrow airport today. we won't get to the dizzying heights in france and portugal. something more fresh for us. fresh air behind a cold front pushing into the west of ireland and blustery liﬂiiﬂiiiiaiiiéiﬁﬁ fii'ﬁl 5323555432??? , . . 7 through liﬂiiiﬁiiaiiiiﬁﬁ fii'ﬁl iﬁﬁﬁiiéfiéiﬁ 7 7 7 7 of through the liﬂiiiﬁiiaiiiiﬁﬁ fii'ﬁl iﬁﬁﬁiiéfiéiﬁ 7 7 7 7 of the through the liﬂiiaeﬁiiaiiiéiﬁﬁ fii'ﬁl iﬁﬁﬁiiéfiéiﬁ 7 7 7 7 of the night, h the liﬂiiaeﬁiiaiiiéiﬁﬁ fii'ﬁl iﬁﬁﬁiiéfiéiﬁ 7 7 7 7 of the night, western the scotland, . g waleseﬁ—n . g we!es7. nothing more than western wales. nothing more than patchy drizzle here.