At least 12 people are dead and dozens injured after a massive fire rapidly tore through a 24-story apartment building in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, police said.
All 24 floors of Grenfell Tower in North Kensington were swiftly engulfed, trapping residents in their homes and reportedly forcing some to jump to escape the flames. London's fire chief, Dany Cotton, said the blaze was "unprecedented" in her 29 years of service.
Residents had reported concerns about fire safety in recent years, and questions were raised about whether a recent refurbishment of the building, in which exterior cladding was installed, contributed to the rapid spread of the fire.
Around 200 firefighters, 40 fire trucks and 20 ambulance crews were at the scene at the height of the blaze.
"Sadly I can confirm there are now 12 people that have died that we know of. This is going to be a long and complex recovery operation and I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12," London Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy told reporters in the early evening.
"I don't anticipate there will be further survivors."
The London Fire Brigade said it had rescued 65 people from the building and had now reached all 24 floors, though firefighters were yet to extinguish small flames in hard to reach pockets. It is unclear how many people are still unaccounted for.
Witnesses described people leaping from the building and of trapped children banging on windows as the fire broke out at around 1 a.m. local time, while people slept.
A website run by the "Grenfell Action Group" said residents of the tower had expressed concerns over the safety of the building, specifically pointing to fire risks. Fire chiefs said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the blaze