London Fire Brigade reveals scale of Grenfell Tower blaze is 'unprecedented'
Firefighters have said the fire at a Notting Hill tower block is “unprecedented” in scale.
A major incident was declared as more than 200 firefighters tackled the blaze at the Grenfell Tower in the Lancaster West estate near Ladbroke Grove.
Authorities confirmed there were a number of deaths but could not provide an exact figure after the fire erupted at about 1am.
Dany Cotton, the London Fire Brigade commissioner, said: “This is an unprecedented incident. In my 29 years of being a firefighter I have never ever seen anything of this scale.
She added: “At this time 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, and it would clearly be wrong for me to speculate further.”
Crews were called shortly before 1am as flames engulfed the block from the second floor upwards “within seconds.”
The emergency services declared the blaze a “major incident” in the early hours.
London Ambulance Service said 50 people had been taken to five hospitals following the huge fire. Witnesses reported other people trapped on the upper storeys.
A large area surrounding the west London inferno remained in place this morning.
Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “All the emergency services and other agencies continue to work together at the scene.
"Anyone who is concerned about loved ones in relation to the fire should contact Casualty Bureau which has been opened following the fire. If you do not get through immediately please do try again.
"Extensive cordons remain in place and a number of nearby residents have been evacuated as a precaution.
“The A40 is closed in both directions. We kindly ask that the public stay away from the area.”
Anyone concerned about a loved one should contact Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233 or 0207 158 0197.