Fire engulfs Grenfell tower block in west London

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A huge fire has engulfed a tower block in Latimer Road, west London, with eyewitnesses claiming people are trapped in their homes.

The fire at Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate was reported at 01:16 BST and about 200 firefighters are tackling the blaze.

The Met Police said people were being treated for “a range of injuries”.

The BBC’s Andy Moore said the whole tower block was alight and there are fears the building might collapse.

At about 04:00 BST police said: “Residents continue to be evacuated from the tower block.”

London Fire Brigade sent 40 fire engines to the tower, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said a “major incident” had been declared.

Eyewitnesses said they could see lights – thought to be torches – flashing at the top of the block of flats, which people say is “close to burning through”.

Our correspondent added: “We’ve seen debris falling from the building, we’ve heard explosions, we’ve heard the sound of glass breaking.

“The police keep pushing back their cordons, pushing back members of the public for fear the building might collapse.”

The BBC’s Simon Lederman said the tower could be seen burning “from miles away”.

‘Covered in ash’

He said the building was “burning out of control”, from the tenth floor onwards.

London Fire Brigade assistant commissioner Dan Daly said firefighters 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.”

London Ambulance Service medics specially trained in life-saving medical care in hazardous environments have also been sent to the fire.

One eyewitness, George Clarke, the presenter of Channel 4 TV programme Amazing Spaces, told Radio 5 Live: “I’m getting covered in ash, that’s how bad it is.

“I’m 100 metres away and I’m absolutely covered in ash.

“It’s so heartbreaking, I’ve seen someone flashing their torches at the top level and they obviously can’t get out.”

‘Building crumbling’

Tim Downie, another eyewitness, told the BBC part of the building was “completely burned away”.

“It has burned through to its very core,” he said.

“It looks very bad, very very bad. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s just such a big fire.

“The whole building is just crumbling. It’s just billowing black smoke.”

Sophia, who is about 500m away from the building, said: “There are lots of people gathered in the street. I just see more and more flames burning and tragically I hear people crying for help.

“The entire building is burning through.”

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