Death toll rises to 12 in London blaze

Survivors said they saw the flames outside their windows, rising up the exterior of the building, which had recently been covered in cladding during a major refurbishment finished in 2016.

More than 200 firefighters, backed up by 40 fire engines, fought for hours to try to bring the Grenfell Tower block blaze - one of the most treacherous seen in London for a generation - under control.

"I looked through the spy hole and I could see smoke everywhere and the neighbours are all there".

Witnesses said the fire spread rapidly and traumatic accounts have emerged of the desperate attempts made by residents to flee the flames. Rydon director Andrew Goldman told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "We don't know there is any direct link between the fire and cladding".

"It's the most terrifying thing I've ever seen".

Anyone who has concerns about friends or relatives at Grenfell Tower should contact the Police emergency telephone number on: 0800 0961 233.

Authorities say the cause of the fire is not yet known and declined to speculate about how it started and spread so quickly.

"This is one of the richest boroughs in London, so why aren't they doing more to help people?" asked Jade, who declined to give her surname to CNN.

"People say muslims are terrorists - they are human beings, just like the rest of us".

The local council of Kensington and Chelsea, which owns the block, said its focus was on supporting the rescue and relief operation.

"A woman appeared at the window gesturing and trying to get someone's attention", Samira Lamrani told NBC News. "She had the baby in hand - she was gesturing like she was going to throw the baby out". Tiago Etienne, 17, said he spotted about three children between the ages of four and eight being dropped from an apartment around the 15th floor.

A total of 78 patients were treated at six hospitals across London, including 18 in critical condition.

Ruks Mamudu, 69, escaped from her first floor apartment wearing only her purple pajamas and bathrobe. She and her grandson sat outside the building, helplessly watching those trapped on higher floors.

"He obviously couldn't find an escape route and he couldn't leave", she said.

"I was just screaming at people: "Get out, get out" and they were screaming back at me: "We can't, the corridors are full of smoke", he told BBC Radio. He said the gunman had "a rifle of some sort. a lot of ammo".

Some fire brigades have described their high-rise training facilities. It was fire up, up, up.

Residents of Grenfell Tower have found themselves outraged over what they perceive as the KCTMO's inability to manage this property and to protect its residents, as evidenced by the fact that an email from 2014 shows residents complaining that there was only one entrance and one exit to the enormous high rise, with the fire escape on the walkway level completely sealed off. Some residents initially feared the fire was also terror-related, although authorities discounted that possibility.

A spokesman said they were "deeply saddened" by yesterday's tragic events in London, adding: "Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected".

"Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service works closely with local councils and housing providers to ensure all buildings are as safe from fire as possible, and that staff can advise residents about how to stay safe".

"I feel lucky to be alive, and it's my boyfriend's birthday today, so we're going to go out for dinner". "Sadly, I don't anticipate there will be further survivors", he said.

In February 2013 Grenfell Action Group warned fire safety equipment had not been tested for 12 months.

In a blog on November 20, the activist group predicted that only "a catastrophic event" leading to "serious loss of life" would bring the outside scrutiny needed to make conditions safe for residents. "We will issue a further statement in due course", he said. It said the cause of the blaze would be "fully investigated".

Residents claimed the fire spread on the exterior of the tower, which had been covered in cladding in a major refurbishment completed a year ago.

A number of people have died after a huge fire in a 27-storey residential block in north Kensington.

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