So far the story.
The search for survivors ended as well-wishers gathered Wednesday night near a west London high-rise that was gutted by a massive fire.
But the recovery operation continues and an investigation is just getting started into what caused the deadly blaze that left at least 12 dead and dozens more injured.
All 24 floors of Grenfell Tower in North Kensington were quickly engulfed, trapping residents and reportedly forcing some to jump to escape what London’s fire chief called an “unprecedented” blaze.
Authorities pledged to review concerns raised about fire safety in the building, including the possibility that a recent refurbishment contributed to the fire’s spread.
British Prime Minister Theresa May promised a “proper investigation” as soon as recovery is completed. For now, though, she said the focus is on helping residents and emergency responders to ensure they have “what they need to continue with their harrowing work.”
- –– At least 12 people have died and police expect the toll to rise.
- — 78 people were hospitalized, 18 of whom are in critical care.
- — London Fire Brigade says it has rescued 65 people from the tower.
- — Residents say they were told to stay in their apartments as the fire raged.
- — 125 families live in the building, which also houses a nursery.
Witnesses described people leaping from the building and trapped children banging on windows as the fire broke out around 1 a.m. ( London local time.). At the height of the blaze, around 200 firefighters, 40 fire trucks and 20 ambulance crews were at the scene.
“This is going to be a long and complex recovery operation and I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12,” London Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said Wednesday night. “I don’t anticipate there will be further survivors.”
It is unclear how many people are still unaccounted for. The Italian Foreign Ministry said at least two Italians are missing and British Labour politician David Lammy said artist Khadija Saye also was missing.
By the afternoon, emergency centers had been set up at nearby churches and posts. Community members and organizations handed out food, clothes and other supplies to those left with no home to return