Death toll in London apartment fire hits double digits

The fire sent up plumes of smoke that could be seen from miles away. Children banged on closed windows as they were enveloped by the dark smoke. The continued to burn when the sun came up at 4:30 a.m. local time.

Another resident, Zoe, who lives on the fourth floor, said she was woken by a neighbour banging on her door.

"Since the refurbishment they've had problems with the electricity, problems with the gas", said local resident Virginia Sang, 62.

Adi Estu, 32, who lives nearby and took refuge in a church with her husband and nine-month-old son, said: "I saw people flashing their lights for help, families flashing their mobile phones like a torch". One of his daughters was hospitalized.

King said one recommendation from the all-party parliamentary group was fitting sprinklers to high rise buildings.

The death toll in the London apartment fire has doubled to 12 and is expected to rise further, officials said.

Firefighters are understood to remain inside battling the blaze which is still being treated as a live scene.

Sandwell Council said all of its blocks have automatic smoke ventilation systems, bin room sprinkler systems, bin chute cut-off slides and dry risers - pipes used by the fire service to distribute water to multiple levels of a building.

Two witnesses said they saw children dropped by their parents out of the building into the arms of people on the ground.

"We can tell that reports (concerning fire safety) were made and the fire service had made inspections relatively recently", he told ABC radio.

"It was the cladding that was on fire and that's what was burning, people believe that it was the cladding".

Witnesses reported seeing people jump from the blazing tower and a woman reportedly tossed her child out of a window on the ninth or 10th floor to safety.

"I doubt anyone caught them, I hope they did".

"We saw the people screaming", she said.

"And then it was black smoke. I don't know what happened to them".

After the Melbourne Docklands fire, the New Zealand Government changed the law so buildings taller than seven metres must now have a fire test on their cladding. Others said they had warned repeatedly about fire safety in the block.

"It's the most terrifying thing I've ever seen".

He said the blaze had advanced quickly, and that the alarms did not appear to have been triggered.

"It went like that", he said, snapping his fingers.

Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said the force do not expect to find any more survivors.

People at the scene spoke of being unable to reach friends and family inside.

The area around Grenfell Tower is home to a large number of Muslims. It's just a short walk from Kensington Palace.

Witness Tamara told BBC News: "Around 12.30/1am my mum called me and said there was a fire outside".

Ronnie King, formerly the chief fire officer and now honorary secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on fire safety and rescue, said the regulations "badly need updating" and "three successive ministers have not done it".

"All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time", the group said in a blog after the fire broke out.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the operation had moved from rescue to the "recovery phase", as emergency crews search for bodies among the charred wreckage. Rydon said it was shocked to hear of the devastating fire and its immediate thoughts were with those affected.

The management company had no immediate comment.

Council leader Nick Paget-Brown said: "It is undoubtedly the case that the council received some complaints about the way the work was being conducted".

He said one man was "trying to get everyone to get together to do something before it was too late".

"I'm really not in any position to answer any questions about the structure", he said. "This is a very, very, very severe fire".

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