London has again been hit by tragedy, with the news that a 24-storey, 120-apartment building in Ladbroke Grove has been utterly destroyed by fire - amid horrifying eyewitness accounts of 'many' residents trapped in its upper levels. Emergency services have confirmed multiple deaths.
According to numerous onlookers quoted in British media, residents were seen desperately attempting to attract attention from the upper storeys - including young families - with some attempting to climb down makeshift ropes made of bedsheets, and others reported to have fallen many storeys to their deaths as the enormous fire raged out of control.
One witness, identified only as Jody, told BBC Radio that there are likely to be ‘tens if not hundreds’ casualties, with people plunging to their deaths in scenes ‘reminiscent of 9/11’. At the time of writing, British media reports say there are still large numbers of residents unaccounted for.
As the fire raged through the early hours, Londoner Dana Ali, 30, told The Sun newspaper her parents Maria, 51, and Khalid, 61 had phoned her to say they were trapped.
‘They said they’re in their living room, they’re closing all the doors, they can’t get out. They opened the main door and saw black smoke,’ she said.
‘They couldn’t see anything so they closed the door back. And now I’m trying to call and they’re not answering.’
Building resident George Clarke told the BBC of the scenes of horror as fire fighters tried vainly to contain the blaze.
‘I’m 100 metres away and I’m absolutely covered in ash,” he continued. “It’s so heartbreaking, I’ve seen someone flashing their torches at the top level and they obviously can’t get out.’