Multiple fatalities in overnight London high rise fire

She said you could tell by the look on the faces of these people trapped and screaming at the windows for help that they knew they were facing death.

Rydon said it was shocked to hear of the devastating fire and its immediate thoughts were with those affected.

Alex Ritson, reporting from London for NPR, says the blaze appeared to start on a lower floor of the building and spread with astonishing speed. "It had completely spread within half an hour".

Khan had been called to respond after reports that people had been advised in advance to remain in their flats in the event of fire. About 600 people are believed to have been inside the tower's 120 flats when the blaze ripped through the building.

"If the same concerns were had in a wealthy part of Kensington and Chelsea they would have got resolved, but here they didn't get resolved", Collins told AFP.

Samira Lamrani said she saw a woman trying to save a baby by dropping it from a window of the ninth or 10th floor. Others said they could see people inside using flashlights and mobile phones to try to signal for help from higher floors.

"Police commander Stuart Cundy said the figure is likely to rise during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days".

"Our priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries and ensure those in the most need are treated first and taken to hospital", the London Ambulance Service service said.

Witnesses described a white, polystyrene-type material falling like snow from the building as it burned.

The BBC's Andy Moore said the whole 24-storey block had been alight and there were fears the building might collapse. Zara, like Lamrai, stood below this inferno watching these trapped victims absolutely helpless to do anything.

"I could see people from all angles, banging and screaming for help".

74 people were evacuated from the scene and take to local hospitals.

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"If we had stayed in that flat, we would have perished".

"There were people who were lost, people who can't find their families". Help! Help!' The fire brigade could only help downstairs. It was fire up, up, up. "You could see the fire going into their houses and engulfing the last room that they were in".

" 'We've complained to council, ' said Edward Daffarn, 55, who said nothing had been done to improve safety".

Tamara continued: "I had a family friend that was stuck all the way up till 5am but luckily she made it out and some others from her floor and the floors below made it out". "As I was going down the stairs, there were firefighters, truly fantastic firefighters that were actually going upstairs, to the fire, trying to get as many people out the building as possible", he told the BBC.

"I grabbed my little girl and ran down the stairs", he said.

The Grenfell Action Group, set up in 2010 to oppose the redevelopment of a nearby green space, said it had warned repeatedly about the fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower.

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.

As dawn broke, the fire was still raging. "Protector will cooperate closely with the local authorities and the rescue teams", the statement said.

Paul Munakr, a resident who lived on the seventh floor and who successfully escaped, told the BBC people were shouting from below, telling people not to jump.

Mike Penning, a member of British Parliament who is a former firefighter, said "cladding was clearly spreading the fire".

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said firefighters were only able to reach the 12th floor of the 24-storey block at the height of the blaze.

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