Children tossed from windows in London high-rise blaze

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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.

Built in 1974, Grenfell Tower contains 120 flats and was refurbished recently at a cost of £8.6 million, with work completed in May a year ago.

Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police, said the recovery operation would be "complex and lengthy", and the number of fatalities was expected to rise.

London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton told CNN that in his 29 years of experience as a firefighter, it was his first time to see "anything of this scale".

"No one has approached me yet (following the fire)". The London Fire Brigade said it rescued 65 people.

"There are already disturbing reports emerging of the pipework in the building for a fire emergency being out of action", Ritson says. "It's so heartbreaking, I've seen someone flashing their torches at the top level and they obviously can't get out".

Jon Hall, former chief fire officer for the Midlands, who advised David Cameron's government said today: "This is a Third-World type accident that represents a failure of every component of fire safety & building management. She seemed calm", he said of his relative. She lost two of her children while rushing down, Michael Paramasivan, a resident of the block, told BBC radio.

Lamrani said there were "endless numbers of people" trapped and "screaming for their lives".

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

Ash Sha, 30, who witnessed the fire and has an aunt in the building who managed to escape from the second floor, said the local council had recently renovated the tower.

Another singer, Rita Ora, said the fire happened in her neighborhood and "couldn't believe" what had happened.

The ambulance service said 68 people were being treated in hospital, with 18 in critical condition.

"I sure would have been dead if I weren't awake", he said.

Fire crews continued to tackle "pockets of fire" in the building.

He added: "Whilst we may have accessed every floor that is not the same as a full search of the whole building, and as I said while we now sadly have 12 fatalities, I do believe that figure will rise and sadly I don't anticipate that there will be further survivors".

"All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time", the group said in a blog after the fire broke out.

Some people told CNN they didn't even hear a fire alarm.

"Loads of people haven't got out", the 55-year-old said.

Local resident Ness Davis said a close friend of hers had been trapped inside in the building.

Residents said they had warned repeatedly over fire safety in the block. We are in the Westfield just around the corner. "The flames - I have never seen anything like it, it just reminded me of 9/11", she said.

The British company that carried out the tower's 2016 refurbishment, Rydon, said in a statement its work "met all required building control, fire regulation, and health and safety standards".

Earlier on Wednesday, police and fire minister Nick Hurd said other tower blocks undergoing similar renovation work to Grenfell Tower will have emergency checks.

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