“There’s people who were jumping out of the building – there’s a man who threw two of his children.” These are the words of a man who witnessed people desperately trying to survive as a fire engulfed Grenfell Tower in North Kensington.
Rumoured to have started on the fourth floor, the fire quickly engulfed the entire flat block in just 15 minutes. The emergency services and fire brigade were called at around 1am this morning. 200 firefighters fought to try and get rid of the flames, however, due to the fire’s ferocity, the fire continued to ravish the 24- story building with residents still stuck inside. Six people have been confirmed dead but officials have said that the death toll is expected to rise and 70 people have been taken to hospitals across the city with 20 in critical condition.
The Grenfell Tower was completed in 1974 and recently underwent a renovation, however, a residents’ group for the building made repeated warnings about fire safety. The group voiced their concerns and made complaints on eight different occasions during the last three years saying that safety regulations were inadequate and unsafe. They pressed the building’s landlords – Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) – to do more to ensure the safety of their residents. On 20 November last year, the group commented:
“It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders.”
With the fire having been slowly extinguished during the early hours of this morning, firefighters and the emergency services are now focused on finding any survivors in this truly horrific event.
Nonetheless, the people of the community, as well as celebrities and leaders across the country have been offering their help and support to those affected. Celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, has offered those who have been affected by the fire the chance to come to his restaurant nearby, where they will be provided with free food. Furthermore, people in the community have been opening their homes to those affected and have also been providing free clothes and food.
Amidst this tragic event, we have been able to see the generosity of locals in offering to help others, as well as the hard work and dedication of the emergency services to help limit the damaging effects of such a devastating incident.
GRENFELL TOWER APPEAL
If you would like to make a donation to help the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, you can drop your donations of water, blankets, toiletries, baby milk, biscuits and can drinks to:
UCKG HelpCentre (Hammersmith), Unit 39, Broadway Shopping Centre, Hammersmith, W6 9YD
UCKG Community Outreach Groups
If you are someone who has been affected by these events and would like emotional support, please call our helpline on 020 7686 6000.