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.
Firefighters continued to search the building for survivors.
Around 200 firefighters, 40 fire trucks and 20 ambulance crews were at the scene at the height of the blaze.
London Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said that the death toll had risen to 12 by the early evening and warned more casualties were likely. The London Fire Brigade said it had searched almost the entire building.
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. (CNN)