London tower fire: What do we know?

Seventy-eight people were being treated in hospitals, 18 of whom are in a critical condition. A cordon is in place around the building and around 30 adjacent flats to the tower block have been evacuated by the police.

The blaze at Grenfell Tower was reported around 1 a.m. (8 p.m. ET Tuesday).

Reuters could confirm those reports.

The building's safety precautions have been called into question, with some saying cladding - building material usually attached directly to the frame of a building to act as an outer wall to provide insulation and protection from the elements - caused the fire to spread. He said he was alerted to the fire not by fire alarms but by people on the street below, shouting "don't jump, don't jump".

Khan who described the incident as "distressing", also praised the quick response from the emergency services.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said "searching questions" need to be asked about what happened, suggesting spending cuts could have contributed to the deadly fire. Crews will remain at the scene for the next 24 hours. "The building needed to be brought up to date with new kitchens and new heating systems", he said, adding that safety certificates had been issued and the council had been "told it had all been brought up to date".

"We saw the people screaming", she said.

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The company said it would not be commenting further "given the ongoing nature of the incident and the tragic events overnight".

A blaze engulfed a 24-storey housing block in central London on Wednesday, trapping residents as they slept and killing at least 12 people in an inferno that the fire brigade said was unprecedented in its scale and speed. "Many others are receiving medical care".

London fire commissioner Dany Cotton said, "In my 29 years in the London Fire Brigade, I have never seen a fire of this nature, and I have seen many high rise fires".

Many locals living near the tower have donated water, food and clothing to the nearby St Clement church, where people affected by the blaze have taken refuge.

"Our longstanding "stay put" policy stays in force until you are told otherwise". The building was to undergo specific improvements to fire safety and ventilation works.

KFRS has an agreement to support neighbouring fire services, and the London fire service has said that they are using a drone from Kent Fire and Rescue Service. The police, however, say it will take some time to confirm the cause of the fire. London Fire Brigade have now confirmed there have been a number of fatalities.

The British company that carried out the tower's refurbishment previous year, Rydon, said that its work "met all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards".

  • Sonia Alvarado