Massive fire engulfs west London high-rise apartment block

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017
Last Update: 12:42
Authorities have confirmed six fatalities in a massive blaze that tore through a London tower block. A local group had previously warned of serious fire safety issues during improvements to the building.London Metropolitan Police said at least six people had died after a violent fire engulfed a high-rise tower block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

At least 50 people have been taken to hospitals across London, according to emergency services. Police said they expect the number of fatalities to rise.

Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade Dany Cotton said she had not seen anything like the fire in her 29 years of service.

She said that the fire started on the second floor, but that firefighters did not know how it started. Later, Cotton confirmed that rescue teams reached at least the 19th floor, and they were still working on clearing the building.

΄Extremely challenging΄

The building was "structurally safe" for emergency response crews to continue operations, she added, citing an assessment from a structural engineer. A further report said the building was not in danger of collapsing. However, police cordoned off the area surrounding the building over fears that it may collapse.

"Crews have been working in extremely challenging and difficult conditions to rescue people and bring this major fire under control," Cotton told reporters.

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