The fire that engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in central London, on Wednesday, killed some people and injured at least 50 more.
The dead were trapped while asleep inside the towering inferno.
“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, “London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton told reporters.
“In my 29 years of being a fire fighter, I have never ever seen anything of this scale,” he said.
Flames licked up the sides of the block in the north Kensington area as 200 firefighters, backed up by 40 fire engines, fought the blaze for hours.
Plumes of black and grey smoke billowed high into the air over the British capital hours after the blaze broke out at the Grenfell Tower where several hundred people live.
Residents rushed to escape through smoke-filled corridors in the housing block after being woken up by the smell of burning. Some said no fire alarm sounded.
Witnesses said they saw trapped residents desperately shouting for help from windows on upper floors as flames enveloped the building.
London Fire Brigade said the fire engulfed all floors from the second to the top of the block which contained 130 apartments.
According to the BBC, Grenfell Tower was built in 1974 by Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council.
It’s part of the Lancaster West Estate, a sprawling inner-city social housing complex of nearly 1,000 homes.
Grenfell Tower underwent a two-year £10m refurbishment as part of a wider transformation of the estate, that was completed last year.
Work included new exterior cladding and a communal heating system.
The 24-storey tower, containing 120 flats, is managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) on behalf of the council.
The local Grenfell Action Group had claimed, before and during the refurbishment, the block constituted a fire risk and residents had warned that access to the site for emergency vehicles was “severely restricted. (BBC)