London Firefighters Struggling With Blaze That Engulfed 24-Storey Block of Flats

© REUTERS / Toby MelvilleFlames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017
Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017 - Sputnik International
Firefighters are trying to put out a huge blaze which has engulfed the 24-story Grenfell Tower apartment building on the Lancaster West Estate, London.

More than 200 firefighters and 40 engines have been dispatched to tackle a huge fire at Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, near Notting Hill, in West London. The London Fire Brigade and Metropolitan Police were called to the scene at 1:16 am local time (00:16 GMT). Additionally, over 100 medics are working on the scene of the fire, London Ambulance said.

The fire engulfed the building from the second storey to the top floor.

A number of people have lost their lives, Dany Cotton, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade told reporters in a televised briefing.

"This is an unprecedented incident. At this time I am very sad to confirm that there have been a number of fatalities, I cannot confirm the number at this time due to the size and complexity of this building," she said.

​It was reported earlier that a huge fire broke out at the apartment block.

The fire reportedly started on the fourth floor due to a faulty fridge. Cotton said the exact cause of the fire is not yet known.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan referred to the fire as a "major incident". According to the Guardian citing a witness, alarms went off "very, very quietly" when the fire broke out.

In November last year, a residents organization, Grenfell Action Group, ran an article accusing the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea of ignoring health and safety regulations. The council landlord was accused of being an "evil, unprincipled, mini-mafia" and of misconduct related to voting at annual general meetings. Grenfell Action Group said "the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord".

The group has published articles criticizing poor fire safety and maintenance at the tower and revealed that the landlord and council had urged the residents to stay in their flats in the event of a fire.

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