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Forty fire engines and more than 200 firefighters and officers were called to a major tower block fire on the Lancaster West estate in north Kensington during the early hours of this morning.
This evening crews were continuing to damp down pockets of fire and will remain at the scene throughout the night and into tomorrow.
Police have confirmed there have been 12 fatalities and say they expect that figure to rise further. In addition, fire crews rescued 65 people from the building.
The Brigade received multiple calls to the fire which affected all floors of the 24 storey building, from the second floor up. A cordon is in place around the building and around 30 adjacent flats to the tower block have been evacuated by the police. People are advised to avoid the area.
The Brigade was called at 0054 and crews are still at the scene working tirelessly to bring the fire under control and to carry out systematic searches of the tower block. Fire crews from North Kensington, Kensington, Hammersmith, Paddington and surrounding fire stations are in attendance.
Our specialist urban search and rescue crews and a structural engineer have checked the building and said that it is not in danger of collapsing and that it is safe for our crews to be in there.
Thankfully any reported injuries to firefighters have been minor and they have been treated at the scene by London Ambulance Service crews.
The cause of the fire is not known at this stage.
The Metropolitan Police Casualty Bureau is open for members of the public who are concerned about relatives or friends who may have been affected by last night’s fire. The number for the Casualty Bureau is 0800 0961 233. If someone was reported as missing and has been found safe, please call the Casualty Bureau with an update.
Grenfell Tower residents are asked to go to the Portobello Rugby Club at Walmer Road and make themselves known.
Speaking from the scene of the Grenfell tower block fire in North Kensington London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said:
“This is an unprecedented situation, with a major fire that has affected all floors of this 24 storey building, from the second floor up. In my 29 years with London Fire Brigade I have never seen a fire of this nature.
“More than 200 firefighters and officers are attending this incident, with 40 fire engines and a range of other specialist vehicles, including 14 fire rescue units at the scene.
“Based on the level of resource that was needed at this fire we declared it a major incident in the early hours of this morning.
“London Fire Brigade’s 999 Control officers took multiple calls, with the first being received at 00.54am The first fire crews arrived on the scene in under six minutes and were faced with a rapidly developing and incredibly complex fire.
“Crews wearing breathing apparatus have been working tirelessly in extremely difficult conditions to rescue people and to bring this major fire under control.
“London Ambulance Service have confirmed 68 people have been taken to six hospitals and a further 10 people have self presented.
“I am sad to confirm that we now know that there have been a number of fatalities and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this terrible incident.
“The cause of the fire is not known at this stage and clearly we will be here all day and will be providing further updates, working with the Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service.
“There will be an investigation but at this stage I do not want to speculate about the cause of the fire or what has caused it to spread in the way that it did. We will be working with all agencies, including the local authority to support all of those affected by this incident.
"I would also urge anyone who has been involved in the fire and is safe to make themselves known to the emergency services if they haven't already done so."