The fire that hit the 24-storeyed Grenfell Tower in West London early on Wednesday may have killed at least six and injured more than 50, but a few people survived due to the desperate measures of the people around them.
An eye witness, Samira Lamrani, said she saw a woman try to save a baby by dropping it from a window “on the ninth or 10th floor” to waiting members of the public below.
“People were starting to appear at the windows, frantically banging and screaming,” Mail Online quoted her as saying.
“The windows were slightly ajar, a woman was gesturing that she was about to throw her baby and if somebody could catch her baby. Somebody did, a gentleman ran forward and managed to grab the baby.
“My daughter’s friend said she observed an adult who made some sort of homemade parachute and tried to lower himself out of the window.
“The more I looked up, floor upon floor. Endless numbers of people. Mainly the kids, because obviously their voices, with their high pitched voices — that will remain with me for a long time. I could hear them screaming for their lives.”
A resident who did not want to be named said he was lucky to be alive.
“I heard a neighbour’s smoke alarm and thought nothing of it,” he said. “I only realised something was wrong when I heard a neighbour shouting. I’m lucky to be alive and lots of people have not got out of the building.”
He told the UK Guardian: “I’ve lost everything I own. I’m standing here in everything I’ve got.”
Several people are feared dead in the incident and more than 50 have been rushed to five different hospitals for treatment.
Dany Cotton, London Fire Commissioner, said: “I am very sad to confirm that there have been a number of fatalities. I cannot confirm the number at this time due to the size and complexity of this building. It would clearly be wrong for me to speculate further.”
But CNN later reported that six people had been confirmed dead so far in the incident.
Another survivor, Siar Naqshabandi, lives on the third floor with his brother and had been out when the blaze took hold.
“I came back at about 1.45am and saw the building was on fire. I rang him [his brother] and said, get out.”
Naqshabandi has more family living on the 23rd floor and an uncle is still missing.
“They were telling people not to leave the building,” he said. “I told them to get down. They said we’re not allowed to get out.”
David Benjamin, who was staying at his girlfriend’s flat on the 4th floor, told the BBC he was asleep when he heard banging. He got up to investigate and heard neightbour shouting “fire! fire!”.
Thinking he and his girlfriend might be safer inside the flat, he went back in and phoned another neighbour who told him to flee immediately.
“We put on our trainers and went outside and saw people running, there was thick smoke. Our neighbour said to get out so we rushed out and rushed down the stairs.”
Assed Baig, a journalist, shared a video on Twitter sent to him by a resident of the tower who managed to escape the inferno.
A resident sent me this video they took when they escaped the building around 1:30 am pic.twitter.com/WdNMQpa2Mv
— AssedBaig (@AssedBaig) June 14, 2017
Another man who fled from the 17th floor said he was alerted to the danger by the arrival of fire engines.
“We saw the fire engines, so we were looking outside at what’s going on. There was no fire alarms anywhere, because we don’t have a kind of integrated fire system – it’s just everyone’s house for itself.”
Below is what the building looked like at the light of day:
— AssedBaig (@AssedBaig) June 14, 2017
It is not known yet what may have caused the fire but Britain has come under three terrorist attacks in recent times.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said “there will be great many questions as to the cause of this tragedy and I want to reassure Londoners that we will get all these answers.”
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) June 14, 2017