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Fire has engulfed a 24-storey block of flats in central London, killing 12 people people, hospitalising at least 70 more and trapping some residents inside the towering inferno.

"This is an unprecedented situation, with a major fire that has affected all floors of this 24 story building, from the second floor up", said London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton. "I am sad to confirm that we now know there have been fatalities and more than 50 people have been taken to hospitals", Khan said in a statement. More than 20 ambulance crews were on the scene, along with 200 firefighters and 45 fire engines.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan visited Grenfell Tower this morning and said it's "extremely distressing and devastating".

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

"Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service works closely with local councils and housing providers to ensure all buildings are as safe from fire as possible, and that staff can advise residents about how to stay safe". According to survivors, the building had no working fire alarm, its sprinklers failed and the only staircase out was blocked.

The fire brigade said the fire had spread throughout the entire building, now covered in plumes of smoke with visible pockets of fire within the charred structure. Desperately trying to avoid the flames, residents threw one baby and other small children from high windows to people down on the sidewalk, witnesses said. "Somebody did, a gentleman ran forward and managed to grab the baby", Lamrani continued.

"My thoughts are also with London Fire Brigade and all emergency services who responded to this incredibly hard incident".

"I've heard that there are places where families who lived in the flats can go, but I'd like the fund to go long-term so that it can fund essentials such as furniture when these people moved into new places".

Cotton told reporters she'd never seen anything like the fire in her almost 30 years as a firefighter. Several people have sustained injuries, the police said, and are being treated.

When contacted by Bernama, Rowena said that she could accommodate up to three people at her house near Marble Arch. "I was yelling at everyone to get down and they were saying: 'We can't leave our apartments, the smoke is too bad'".

"Her husband was talking with emergency services. But I think what's happened is they're not understanding that this fire has spread all around the building", said one resident.

"Rydon completed a $11-million refurbishment project in 2016 on behalf of the local authority to modernize the exterior of Grenfell Tower, which saw new cladding and windows installed".