London mayor Sadiq Khan (Lab) has said he is “truly devastated” after a huge fire at a block of Kensington & Chelsea RBC-owned flats in Kensington.
At least six people have died, while more than 50 people have been taken to hospital.
Fire at Greenfell Tower, Kensington
Source: Picture taken by London Fire Brigade
London Fire Brigade received the first call of a fire at Grenfell Tower in Kensington at 00.54am on Wednesday.
All floors of the building, from the second floor up, have been affected. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
While the council still owns the properties, they have been managed by the Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation since 1996. This is “a completely separate company” to the council, the organisation’s website says, although four councillors sit on its board of directors.
A statement from Kensington & Chelsea RBC on its website said the cause of the fire “will be fully investigated” and added: “At present all our focus is on supporting the rescue and relief operation.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Nick Paget-Brown (Con), the council’s leader, said: “The council will always ensure its own properties are inspected by the fire service and high standards are set.
“There are national regulations about fire safety and normally if there is a fire it is contained and it appears that hasn’t happened [this time].
“Clearly there will need to be a thorough investigation.”
Cllr Paget-Brown, who was speaking at the scene, said it was a “devastating fire” which looked “like it is still burning quite aggressively”. He said the fire “appears to have spread quite quickly”.
There are about 130 flats in the tower block, said Cllr Paget-Brown and added the council’s “job now is to make sure people are supported” and found places to go.
Mr Khan said he was “truly devastated to see the horrific scenes” and added: “There will be a great many questions over the coming days as to the cause of this tragedy and I want to reassure Londoners that we will get all the answers.”
The council has set up an emergency rest centre for evacuees while an emergency contact number - 0800 0961 233 - has been created for anyone concerned for loved ones.