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'Unknown numbers' of dead remain in Grenfell Tower

15 June 2017

Firefighters worked through the night to dampen the massive blaze that engulfed a 24-storey residential tower block in west London killing at least 12 people with claims emerging that warnings about safety had been ignored.

High-rise buildings are typically created to contain fire outbreaks within floors, so it is often safer to stay in an apartment unaffected by a blaze.

Read why residents are angry.

One woman lost two of her six children when trying to escape a burning London apartment block early on Wednesday morning while others tried to throw their children to safety, witnesses said.

Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said: "I can confirm six fatalities".

According to Sky News, Mr Rahman's last contact with his family was at around 3am when he told them he could smell smoke.

Desperate occupants of Grenfell Tower flocked to the windows and screamed for help, many holding their children.

(Matt Dunham/AP):: 12.50am - Maryam Adam, 41, is awoken by her neighbour who says his fourth-floor flat is on fire.

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"The flames - I have never seen anything like it, it just reminded me of 9/11", said Muna Ali, 45. "It had completely spread within half an hour".

"We saw the people screaming", she said.

Steve Apter, director of safety and assurance at London Fire Brigade, said firefighters had battled through "particularly arduous conditions" to reach the top floor.

The cause of the fire was not clear.

As the focus moves to how the fire started and why it spread so quickly, policing and fire minister Nick Hurd said emergency checks would be carried out on tower blocks undergoing similar renovations. The Grenfell Tower apartment block was home to about 600 people.

Samira Lamrani, a witness, said one woman dropped a baby from a window on the ninth or 10th floor to people on the sidewalk.

"People were starting to appear at the windows, frantically banging and screaming", she told London's Evening Standard newspaper. "Somebody did, a gentleman ran forward and managed to grab the baby", Lamrani continued.

Huffington Post UK had details on a mother who threw her baby to safety.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said "searching questions" need to be asked about what happened, suggesting spending cuts could have contributed to the deadly fire, while general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union Matt Wrack said: "The truth is this should not be happening in the United Kingdom, one of the wealthiest countries in the world".

Noha Baghdady shared a picture of her brother Hesham Rahman, 57, across a number of platforms, saying he lived on the 20th floor of the tower block and had not heard any news since the fire broke out.

Amid the devastation many have praised the way the community has pulled together - many people were left only with the clothes they were wearing when they escaped. Others leapt from high floors rather than succumb to the flames.

The blaze early Wednesday in the 24-story building in west London's North Kensington district also injured 74 others, 18 of them critically, and left an unknown number missing.

"I sat there watching my house burn down and watching people cry for help who couldn't come down", Mamudu said.

Survivors said there were no sprinklers in the building.

"It doesn't matter what color skin we have, doesn't matter where we're from. everyone is here to make sure the people who are affected, and who need help the most, have got that help".

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'Unknown numbers' of dead remain in Grenfell Tower