More than 200 firefighters tackled a huge blaze at a 27-story block of flats in west London on Wednesday.
The fire killed some people and injured about 50 people, as many residents were trapped while others were sleeping inside the burning tower.
200 firefighters battled the blaze for hours along with forty fire engines that rushed to the Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate, north Kensington, shortly after midnight.
Flumes of black and gray smoke were rising high into the air over London hours after the blaze was sparked.
Eyewitnesses said they saw trapped residents desperately calling for help from windows on higher floors as flames
swallowed the building.
“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,” said London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton told reporters.
London Ambulance Service said more than 50 people had been taken to hospital. A witness told Reuters she feared not all residents had escaped the fire. Some were evacuated in their pyjamas.
There were at least 20 ambulance crews in the area.
People who witnessed the fire said some residents were screaming for help as the fire took hold of the building, while others were seen using bedsheets to make their escape from the tower block, reported the Guardian.
“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle this fire,” London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Dan Daly said.
“This is a large and very serious incident and we have deployed numerous resources and specialist appliances.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said a “major incident” had been declared. Police closed the A40, a major road leading out of west London, while some parts of London’s underground train network were closed as a precaution.
The cause of the fire, which broke out just before 1 a.m. (0000 GMT), is not known yet, the Fire Brigade said.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has said, however, that fire will be investigated, but for now the focus is on handing support for emergency services in their rescue and relief operations.