Blaze Engulfs Apartment Block With Families Trapped In West London  

14 Jun, 2017 09:56 IST|Sakshi
Residents from blocks surrounding Grenfell Tower are being evacuated as firefighters continue to contain the flames

A massive fire has engulfed a 27-story apartment block in West London in the wee hours on Wednesday.

Around 200 firefighters and 40 fire trucks have been deployed to tackle the blaze, as rescue workers try to evacuate the building in Lancaster West Estate in North Kensington, London Fire Brigade said.

The fire broke out before daybreak local time Wednesday, when most of the building's residents would have still been in bed.

Ashish Joshi, a senior correspondent for Sky News UK, says the tower block has been gutted in the fire: “The building is pretty much burned down, there’s a tiny bit left that’s not on fire, but every single window is gutted ... there’s nothing left of it. The acrid smell is horrendous.”

The damage done in the four-hour blaze was huge and the fire was not yet extinguished.

Police are evacuating Barandon Walk and Tesserton Walk adjacent to the tower, with residents asked to gather their belongings and go to a nearby church about 20 minutes ago.

In a statement posted to Twitter, London police say two people are currently being treated for smoke inhalation and they're waiting updates on further injuries.

"The whole building is on fire and it's spreading fast," witness Goran Karimi told CNN.

He said he saw people jumping from the building.

The London Fire Brigade said the cause of the fire is still unknown. In a statement posted on Facebook, the service said the "fire is from the second floor to the top floor of the 27 floor building."

"Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle this fire. This is a large and very serious incident and we have deployed numerous resources and specialist appliances," Assistant Commissioner Dan Daly said.

CNN producer Salma Abdelaziz, who is outside the apartment block, said it is a "terrifying scene."

"Chunks of the building are falling off in flames," she said, adding there is a "massive" swathe of fire across the side of the building.

The sounds of sirens and helicopters is non-stop as locals and residents, evacuated from the building, begin to gather outside to watch the blaze.

Residents told CNN they had seen people still trapped inside the building.

Grenfell Tower

The 27-story Grenfell Tower was built in the 1970s and recently subject to a $10.9 million redevelopment, according to property firm Rydon.

Close to Notting Hill, the tower block is around a five minute walk from the Latimer Road Underground station and near the Westfield shopping center in the west London suburbs.

According to property website RightMove, the average rent in the building is around $2,500 a month.

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