Death toll in London tower fire rises to 12

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Resident Mahad Egal said he saw people jumping from the upper floors to avoid the flames.

Six people are dead following a massive fire at a high rise in London, England.

At its peak, there were more than 250 London firefighters, with more than 40 fire trucks, an army of paramedics and fleets of ambulances.

Part of the London skyline before the blaze broke out. The inferno has ripped through much of the 24-storey tower block, claiming the lives of at least a dozen people. After announcing the updated death toll of 12 in the afternoon, Cmdr.

"This is a complex operation and I anticipate the number will increase beyond those 12".

"Across London we have many, many tower blocks and what we can't have is a situation where people's safety is put at risk because of bad advice being given or if it is the case, as has been alleged, of tower blocks not being properly serviced or maintained", he said.

London Fire Brigade officer Steve Apter confirmed that - at the height of the fire - more than 250 firefighters were on the scene. Questions pointed to non-existent or malfunctioning sprinklers, flammable plastic building components, and insufficient fire escapes. Others said they had warned repeatedly about fire safety in the block. "The flames - I have never seen anything like it, it just reminded me of 9/11", said Muna Ali, 45.

The panicked woman later shouts down to police on the ground: "We're stuck on the 23rd floor, hello! It had completely spread within half an hour".

"I could see it from my garden, it was just there, the left-hand side piece there, just a couple of floors, and over the hours it just spread and it's gone around the left of the building as well", she said. When talking to reporters, The Telegraph reports, she said that Muslims often stay up until 2 a.m. while observing Ramadan as they do their last prayer after the late night meal.

Others said they saw mothers tossing their children from windows and people simply jumping. There was no word on their fate. Others report seeing residents who were on fire themselves leaping from windows as well.

A horrified woman tells of how a mother threw her baby from a window of Grenfell Tower in London and describes the "harrowing" scenes.

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"I sat there watching my house burn down and watching people who couldn't come down cry for help", Ms Mamudu said.

"People were starting to appear at the windows, frantically banging and screaming", Ms Lamrani said.

"I tried to escape but the smoke was so heavy, so we thought just call 999 because I could not use the staircase".

Fire crews are continuing to tackle "pockets of fire" in the building with many people still unaccounted for.

The work was completed in May previous year, according to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

"I'm lucky to be alive. A neighbor's smoke alarm went off and another neighbor phoned and told me to get out", Daffarn said. "I consider this mass murder".

The cause of the huge blaze on Wednesday which killed at least 12 people at Grenfell Tower in north Kensington is not yet known.

A community action group have said their warnings fell on "deaf ears" after highlighting safety concerns about Grenfell Tower, which was ravaged by fire yesterday. Saint Clemente, one nearby church, has seen such an outpouring that it has asked for future donations to be given to a church a few blocks away.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the BBC reported the fire hadn't been fully extinguished yet.

The tower block was recently refurbished at a cost of STG8.7 million ($A14.6 million), with work completed in May a year ago.

London Fire Brigade said the cause of the fire, which tore through the 24-storey building, is still being investigated. "Be familiar with the life-safety systems [and] know where the means of egress are".