Massive fire engulfs high-rise in west London, trapping residents

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A massive fire has engulfed a 27-story apartment building in west London, trapping and injuring an unknown number of residents, officials and witnesses say. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known.

The incident began at about 12:54 a.m. on Wednesday when firefighters were called to reports of a fire at the Grenfell Tower in north Kensington. The fire spread rapidly, engulfing nearly the entire building from the second to the top floor.

Witnesses said multiple people were still trapped in the burning building as of 4:30 a.m., though it remained unclear how many residents were able to escape. Videos at the scene of the inferno showed at least two people who were trapped in separate apartments.

“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle this fire,” said Assistant Commissioner Dan Daly of the London Fire Brigade. “This is a large and very serious incident and we have deployed numerous resources and specialist appliances.”

More than 200 firefighters and 40 fire trucks are at the scene.

Sky News reported that police have told people who hear from those trapped inside the building to urge them to self-evacuate and to not wait for help. It came amid fears that the apartment building could potentially collapse and some witnesses said they had received calls from those trapped inside.

More than 20 ambulance crews have been sent to the scene, though there was no immediate word on the number of victims. “Our priority [is] to get people to safety and ensure they receive the medical help as quickly as possible,” said Stuart Crighton, the Assistant Director of Operations at the London Ambulance Service.

The cause of the blaze is unknown.

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