July 23, 2017

Children tossed from windows in London high-rise blaze

15 June 2017, 03:37 | Lena Norman

Flames and smoke billow from Grenfell Tower in West London. REUTERS

Flames and smoke billow from Grenfell Tower in West London. REUTERS

As smoke continued to billow from the gutted building, survivors voiced anger over longstanding safety fears at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, which was home to between 600 and 800 people.

Fire fighters are continuing to tackle the blaze at Grenfell Tower in a diverse area of West London, in which at least six people are known to have died.

"The fire, which was unprecedented in its scale and speed, will be subject to a full fire investigation", said Steve Apter from the London Fire Brigade. "Ten of our blocks are eight stories or above and while the fire risk assessment for each block is usually reviewed annually, we will be revisiting any conducted more than three months ago, as an extra precautionary measure to reassure residents".

AN ACTION group at the west London tower block ravaged by a deadly fire has said its warnings fell on "deaf ears" after it highlighted safety concerns. Wait for the fire and rescue service. "This is because Grenfell was designed according to rigorous fire safety standards", KCTMO said in a newsletter to residents in July 2014.

Another witness said a family friend was "stuck on the eighth floor with her 5-year-old daughter" until 5 a.m., nearly four hours after the fire broke out.

"Around midnight my brother initially woke me up, and screamed, 'there's a fire!' So we went out and initially it was only on the 3rd, 4th floor, so it wasn't too bad", Samira Awil, who lives in the charred building, told CBS News on Wednesday morning.

Prime Minister Theresa May's office said she was "deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life" in the fire. "She is now breaking her heart", Michael Paramasivan, a block resident, told BBC radio.

The block had recently undergone an 8.7 million pound (US$11.08 million) refurbishment of the exterior, which included new external cladding, replacement windows and curtain wall facades.

"I could hear them screaming for their lives", she said.

"I used to play in that block - I want to do all I can to help", she wrote on Instagram.

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"There was one woman on the 12th floor, she's left with her six kids, when she's got to the ground floor there's only four of them with her".

"They couldn't see it spreading", he said.

The ambulances service said 69 people had been taken to hospital and 18 were in critical care. I don't know what happened to them.

Another witness, Saimar Lleshi, saw people tying together sheets in an attempt to escape.

At St. Clement's Church, where evacuees from neighboring buildings gathered, Hadra Hassad was trying to find one of her closest friends, who lived on the 21st floor. A number of fatalities have been reported.

She added instructions were put up on every floor telling people to remain in their flats in the event of a fire, that they would be safe there and would be rescued within the hour.

"There was no fire alarms anywhere, because we don't have a kind of integrated fire system - it's just everyone's house for itself".

The organization said: "We are aware that concerns have been raised historically by residents. There is a man who threw two of his children." said Mr Egal, who paused as he teared up.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that he had been in talks with Government ministers, including the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and that "the loved ones of the victims and everyone affected are in my thoughts".

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