It was a real-life towering inferno. A massive fire consumed a 24-story high-rise apartment building in West London known as Grenfell Tower, and there were reports on social media that families were trapped inside at the windows.
At least 30 people and about 70 more are missing, reports CNN. Some victims may never be identified, according to CNN, which says the blaze started in flammable material used to “refurbish” the building, which had no sprinkler system.
London’s mayor called the fire a “major incident,” and one man reported that an exploding refrigerator ignited the blaze, although that was not confirmed.
Writer Tim Downie wrote that people were still trapped inside. “Raging fire in Grenfell Tower near Latimer Road. Whole block of 24 floors up in flames. People still trapped inside. Horrendous,” he wrote.
Daily Mail reported residents “shouted at people waving from their windows to ‘cover their mouths,'” with one yelling, “Cover your mouth with a wet towel. Don’t panic. It started on the fourth floor or something. There are people in their windows, putting their heads out.”
An eerie blog post from a community group called Grenfell Action Group bore the headline – in January 2016 – “Grenfell Tower Still a Fire Risk.”
“There is only one entry and exit to Grenfell Tower during the Improvement Works and the potential for a fire to break out in the communal area on the walkway does not bear thinking about as residents would be trapped in the building with no way out!” the article reported. In 2014, the same group published an article that asked, “Is Grenfell Tower a Fire Trap?”
People posted live videos from the scene. So far, police said two people were treated for smoke inhalation, but the incident was still unfolding.
People in the area used words like “colossal” to describe the blaze. The Fire Department said on Twitter that 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters were battling the fire.
Horrifically, there were reports on social media that people were trapped inside the burning building and were seen at the windows. One man wrote on Twitter that people inside were “screaming for their lives.” “Fire consuming Grenfell Tower. People screaming for their lives. Horrible #London #GrenfellTower,” he wrote.
People chastised the media for not being quicker to cover the inferno.
Another social media user wrote, “Prayers to all those families stuck in Grenfell tower right now Pray hard please everyone there’s still people alive at their windows.”
Dramatic photos and videos from the scene captured the extent of the blaze as it lit up the night sky.
The tower is located in East London. One Twitter user wrote that he hoped everyone made it out alive. However, that was not immediately clear. One person described the tower on Twitter as a “massive residential block.”
Many videos and photos were posted to Twitter showing the massive blaze, which ran the entire height of the building.
Here’s a photo of Grenfell Tower before the fire:
There was no word yet of a cause. The fire broke out on June 13. The building was consumed by the fire.
Photos captured a large emergency response to the scene.
“If you pray, PRAY NOW for residents of Grenfell Tower – high rise block on fire very near us. Pray that people got/get out safely,” wrote one man, Sean Doherty, on Twitter.
More firefighters arrived to help the victims trapped inside.
One person urged British media: “REPORT THE GRENFELL TOWER FIRE ITS ABLAZE AND PEOPLE ARE DYING.”