Firefighters are battling a massive fire in an apartment high-rise in London on Wednesday, June 14.
Emergency personnel prepare in an open area near the fire.
Local council leader Nick Paget-Brown said the authorities are still trying to “establish how many people have been injured or, sadly, lost their lives.”
“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus 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,” Assistant Commissioner Dan Daly said.
Smoke could be seen billowing over the heads of residents who gathered in nearby streets in West London to watch the blaze, which broke out in the early hours of the morning.
Police officers on nearby Bradley Road asked people to step back so they could expand the cordon and make more space for emergency services.
Residents of Whitchurch Road watch smoke streaming from the tower.
Emergency services respond to the fire.
Residents evacuated from nearby Barandon Walk wait outside their building. They were evacuated around 2 a.m. Police told them heat emanating from the fire could affect the structure of their building.
Witness Michael Kyriakou told CNN the fire spread quickly, with one side of the building ablaze around 15 minutes after it started. “Within an hour it had engulfed the top part of the building,” he said. “There are people in bathrobes and slippers all around us, so hopefully as many as possible got out.”
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has activated a “major emergency plan” in response to the blaze.