The news reports from the London Grenfell Tower fire are devastating, but the tweets and photos from the scene are beyond imagination. The fire broke out just before 1 a.m. local time and quickly spread, reaching from the building's second floor on up to the 24th, the top floor. There were 120 apartments in the building. The London Fire Commissioner, Dany Cotton, told media there had been "a number of fatalities," but an exact number is not known.
The photos and videos posted to Twitter show huge flames coming out of the building. Accounts reported in The Guardian tell of people standing at their windows and asking for help. The firefighters then reportedly shot water at their windows to try and keep the blaze under control until they could be rescued. Other residents fled to the roof to get help, flashing their mobile phone lights. Tragically, there were even reports of people jumping.
After everyone is accounted for, there will surely be an investigation into the building's fire preparedness. There are reports that a blog run by residents, Grenfell Action Group, had brought concerns about fire safety to authorities in the past. Now, residents in buildings across London and the U.K. are likely to ask themselves if their homes are safe. Seeing these images makes that worry all the more real.
One whole side of the building was alight, as captured in this dramatic photo.
2Even At Dawn, The Fire Continued
To give you an idea of the scale, the whole building was charred hours later.
3From The Ground
Angles from people on the ground show the immensity of the blaze.
4Survivors Look For Family
Survivors on the scene started posting to social media to find friends and family.
5Periscope Was Widely Used
For those who made it out or lived nearby, Periscope became a useful tool to stream live video.
6People Filming Were Worried
As debris fell from the structure, those on the ground wondered about their own safety.
7Fear Of Collapse
Reports made it to the media that there was a risk of the building collapsing.
The limited number of access roads was a problem for firefighters.
9A "Before" Picture
Here's a look at what the building was like before the blaze.
10Neighbors Could Capture The Blaze
This video was taken from a neighbor's window.
11Reports Of Jumping
Eyewitness reports said some who were trapped inside jumped.
12Firefighters Got Very Close To The Flames
This video captures firefighters on ladders reaching some of the higher floors.
13Electricity Went Out In Top Floors
Eyewitnesses said the electricity went out in part of the building while people remained trapped.
14Emergency Services Responded
The NHS asked people not to go to the hospital except in emergency cases to make space for the victims of the fire.
15The Debris Was Intense
In this video, you can see it fall from the structure.
There were real worries about the danger spreading.
17Cordon Area Expanded
The police kept moving bystanders further back and evacuating neighboring homes.
18Bystanders Tried To Help
They shouted up at residents to find out their apartment numbers.
19Hours After It Started, The Fire Kept Burning
The fire at Grenfell Tower is still raging pic.twitter.com/TTvI9ehMIg— Alice Ross (@aliceross_) June 14, 2017
It remained on fire into the morning hours.
20Firefighters Worked Through The Night
Not everyone could be saved, but the firefighters worked as hard as they could. Rescuers have reached the 21st floor, and a structural engineer is monitoring the building.
Send your thoughts to the victims of the blaze; these next days will be painful. And make sure to revise your fire safety plan.