Sam Smith, Questlove, Others React to London Building Fire

Firefighters direct jets of water onto a tower block severely damaged by a serious fire in north Kensington West London on June 14

At least six people have died after a huge fire destroyed a tower block in west London, with the death toll expected to rise.

In one of the most treacherous incidents seen in over a generation, flames shot from windows all the way up the 24-story Grenfell Tower in North Kensington as more than 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Flumes of black and gray smoke were billowing high into the air over London hours after the blaze was sparked.

Nearly immediately after reports emerged of a massive fire engulfing a 24-storey high-rise in West London on Wednesday morning, Londoners took to social media platforms offering whatever assistance they could to displaced strangers in their time of need.

Dany Cotton, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade says early Wednesday morning there were "a number" of fatalities, but he could not be more specific as the massive operation at the building was ongoing.

Hundreds of residents in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower have been evacuated from their flats in the burning building, and at least 70 people have been taken to five hospitals in the capital for treatment.

"Thankfully any reported injuries to firefighters have been minor and they have been treated at the scene by London Ambulance Service crews".

London mayor Sadiq Khan has said the fire has been declared a "major incident". It said the causes of the fire would be fully investigated.

Relevant to your professional network? Twenty people remain in critical care.

"About 12 floors up I saw three children waving from a window and then there was just an explosion and they disappeared".

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Ayana, a Western lowland gorilla , was born in the early hours of April 22 to mother Touni and silverback gorilla father Jock. After having gone into labour on Thursday, zoo staff sought assistance when it became clear the Kira was having difficulty.

The police have provided a number for people to call if they think someone is still missing.

"We could hear people screaming 'help me, help me, ' flashing their phone lights to let people know they were there", another resident said. The whole building is engulfed in flames.

"The flames, I have never seen anything like it". "People have been bringing water, clothes, anything they've got to help, out to the cordon".

"Successive ministers since 2013 have said they are still looking at it. Mr Barwell said he was still looking at it and was preparing to meet with the All-Party group".

Grenfell Tower was built in 1974 and contains 120 homes, according to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

But knee-jerk reactions today have already included politically opportunistic finger-pointing at Theresa May's new chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, who was a housing minister for just 12 months until last Thursday: this very serious charge seems incredibly premature to me.

Refurbishment of the housing block had been completed past year and the Fire Brigades Union said something had gone badly wrong with fire prevention procedures at the building.

Hurd has spoken to London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Steve Apter to assure him that the government will offer assistance.

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