LONDON (AP) — Firefighters battled a massive fire and evacuated residents from a burning 27-floor high-rise apartment building in west London early Wednesday morning.
London’s Metropolitan Police said a number of people were being treated for a range of injuries, but did not provide more specifics. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Twitter that a major incident had been declared.
Flames and smoke were still shooting from windows all the way up one side of the Grenfell Tower in North Kensington more than three hours after the blaze started.
The London Fire Brigade said 45 fire engines and 200 firefighters were called to the scene and Assistant Fire Commissioner Dan Daly said it was a large and very serious incident.
“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle this fire,” he said in a post on the brigade’s Facebook page.
George Clarke, the presenter of “Amazing Spaces,” told Radio 5 Live he was covered in ash even though he was 100 meters (yards) from the scene.
He said he saw people waving flashlights from the top levels of the building and saw rescuers “doing an incredible job” trying to get people out.
Tim Downie, who lives not far away, told Britain’s Press Association that he feared the block could collapse. He said he heard sirens, helicopters and shouting and then saw the building engulfed in flames.
“It’s the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen. I just hope they have got everyone out,” he said. “People have been bringing water, clothes, anything they’ve got to help, out to the cordon.”