Fire engulfed a 24-storey housing block in central London in the early hours on Wednesday, killing at least six people and injuring 70 others in an inferno that trapped residents as they slept.
Flames raced through the high-rise Grenfell Tower block of apartments in the north Kensington area after taking hold around 1 a.m. and witnesses reported some residents screaming for help from windows of upper floors and others trying to throw children to safety.
More than 200 firefighters, backed up by 40 fire engines, fought for hours to try to bring the blaze, one of the biggest seen in central London in memory, under control.
Police Commander Stuart Cundy said a “recovery operation” could take some time and there could be people in the building who are unaccounted for, though he would not be drawn on a figure.
Fire-fighting crews still had to reach the top four floors of the building where several hundred people live in 130 apartments.
The cause of the fire, which left the tower block a charred, smoking shell, was not immediately known.
The block had recently undergone an 8.7 million pound ($11.08 million) refurbishment of the exterior, which included new external cladding, replacement windows and curtain wall facades.