London tower block fire claims lives

Fire engulfed a high-rise block of apartments in central London on Wednesday, killing at least six people and injuring 74.

Plumes of black smoke billowed high into the air over the British capital for hours after the blaze broke out.

The fire brigade said 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters had been called to the blaze at Grenfell Tower, which has 120 flats.

Assistant Commissioner Dan Daly says on the London Fire Brigade's Facebook page that it's a large and very serious fire.

"Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle this fire", he said in a post on the brigade's Facebook page.

People in apartments enveloped by the quickly advancing flames and thick smoke banged on windows and screamed for help to those watching down below, witnesses and survivors said. "Help! Help!' and putting their hands on the window and asking to help them", Amina Sharif, a witness, told Reuters.

Another resident, Zoe, who lives on the fourth floor, said she was woken by a neighbour banging on her door. Some were evacuated in their pajamas.

Eyewitnesses said they had seen some people fall or jump from the stricken building and at least one resident waving a piece of white cloth from one of the upper floors as flames ravaged the tower.

One resident said the fire alarm did not go off - bolstering the arguments of a community group, which only months ago had warned of a potential catastrophe at the subsidized housing block.

"We have 20 ambulance crews on the scene as well as our hazardous area response teams from London's air ambulance who travelled to the scene by auto".

London's Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared the blaze a "major incident".

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Authorities said they did not know the cause of the fire, and that it would be investigated.

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A 8.7 million pound ($11 million) refurbishment of the block was carried out by construction company Rydon and completed in July 2016. "This is because Grenfell was designed according to rigorous fire safety standards", KCTMO said in a newsletter to residents in July 2014.

"My daughter's friend said she observed an adult who made some sort of homemade parachute and tried to lower himself out of the window", Lamrani said.

A pastor has blamed the "disgusting" treatment of poor people in Notting Hill for the fatal tower block inferno and said residents had been "neglected" in the area.

On Wednesday morning, the Grenfell Action Group's web site was updated, with a post on the fire. London police confirm that more than one person was killed as a van plowed into a crowd of people at the London Bridge.

The death-toll on London's Grenfell Tower fire continues to mount, it's worth remembering that there are no "natural disasters", only human disasters, created by people who weigh different interests in the balance and create policies based on the way the scales come up.

In another, the sound of crashing can be heard as the building crumbles.

Children were among those begging to be saved as families tried to escape the engulfed 24-storey block of flats in Ladbroke Grove, West London.

Police cleared nearby buildings because of fears about falling debris and shut down a section of the A40 highway - a normally busy thoroughfare into London.

Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "deeply saddened" by the "tragic loss of life" and has called a cross-party meeting.

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