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UK: Death toll rises to 12 in London residential block fire

15th Jun 2017
UK: Death toll rises to 12 in London residential block fire

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal


LONDON (AA): The death toll in a massive blaze which destroyed a residential tower block in London on Wednesday morning has climbed to 12, police said. Witnesses reported that if it wasn’t for the Muslims who were the first ones to have arrived to the fire scene, many more people would have died..

More than 200 firefighters raced against time to tackle the fire which engulfed the 24-story Grenfell Tower in North Kensington Area leaving 74 others injured.

Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Metropolitan Police, confirmed at least 12 deaths but said this figure “will sadly increase”.

A “complex recovery operation” was expected over the next few days, he added.

Emergency services said 74 people were in various hospitals; 20 of them were in critical condition.

The fire started at around 1 a.m. local time and is believed to have taken hold of the whole building, which contained 120 apartments.

“It is likely to take some time before we are in a position to confirm the identity of the victims and it is too early to speculate on the cause of the fire,” the Metropolitan Police added.

Describing the fire earlier as “an unprecedented incident,” London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: “In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never ever seen anything on this scale.”

A search-and-rescue operation is ongoing as the fire has been mostly brought under control.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said hundreds members of the emergency services were dealing with the situation, and described the fire as a “major incident”.

Deniz Candas, a Turk who lives in the area told Anadolu Agency that there were some Turks who lived in the Grenfell Tower.

He said he knew a family who lived in the block but did not hear anything from them.

Tariq Gotteeh, a resident of the block said he was one of the first who had noticed the fire.

He said: “I was up for the suhoor. I was taking the rubbish out. I felt a strange smell… I checked around and saw the flames.”

The area has been cordoned off and adjacent properties evacuated with nearby roads closed to traffic.

There has been overwhelming support from the public, local and from across London. Churches and mosques have opened their doors to those affected by the fire. Many charities have also come to the rescue. The response has been so great that mosques, churches and other rescuing institutions had to say no to the support.

Individuals brought their clothes, trainers, food, water, clothing and toys.

Iftar was provided for everyone Wednesday evening.

Al-Manaar Mosque and Centre, which is located near the building, said they are open for use as a temporary shelter by anyone affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower. “Anyone of any faith or no faith is most welcome to walk in to have some rest, sleep, and or have some water and food. Al-Manaar staff and volunteers will also be trying to deliver water, dates, and other emergency essentials to the affected area. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.” said the Mosque.

Mosque contact details: 02089641496 or 07500223914 or 07754271744. Address: 244 Acklam Road London W10 5YG

St. Clements Church has turned into an evacuation centre.

The cause of the blaze remains unknown. Prime Minister, Theresa May, said “an investigation will take place into the cause of the fire and if there are any lessons to be learned”.

Meanwhile, Kensington Council has introduced emergency accommodation plans with hundreds of stranded families being offered accommodation for the night in a local gym.

Addtional report from The Muslim News

[Photo: Overwhelming support from the public to the fire engulfing the 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. Photographer: Kate Green/AA]


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