London fire: 17 dead, more than 50 injured as massive flames engulf 24-storey Grenfell Tower

The operations are currently underway at the 24-storey tower, with fire still burning on some floors.

Huge fire engulfs 27-storey London tower block, people injured
Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. Reuters

At least 17 people were killed and more than 50 were injured after a huge fire raged through the night in Latimer Road's Grenfell Tower located in White City district in West London in the early hours of Wednesday. The operations are currently underway at the 24-storey tower, with fire still burning on some floors.

"Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this truly shocking fire at Grenfell Tower. I can confirm six fatalities at this time but this figure is likely to rise during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days. Many others are receiving medical care," Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Metropolitan Police, said. However, the identities of the victims could not be immediately identified.

More than 200 firefighters were battling the blaze at Grenfell Tower in north Kensington with 40 fire engines, where hundreds of people are thought to live. Flumes of black and gray smoke billowed into the air over London hours after the blaze was sparked.

London Fire Brigade said the fire had engulfed all floors from the second to the top of the Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate in west London. "We are dealing with a really serious fire that spread throughout the building," a spokesman for the fire brigade told Reuters. "The crews are doing all that they possibly can to tackle this fire."

London Ambulance Service medics, who are specially trained in life-saving medical care in hazardous environments, have also been sent to the scene.

Some British media reported that some people were trapped in the fire. The residents were shouting desperately for help from windows on upper floors as the fire spread. However, Reuters could not confirm those reports.

A witness told Reuters that she feared not all the residents had escaped the fire. Some were evacuated in their pyjamas.

"A number of people are being treated for a range of injuries," police said. "Residents continue to be evacuated from the tower block fire." According to London Ambulance, 30 people are receiving hospital treatment.

More than 20 ambulance crews were at the scene. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said a "major incident" had been declared. "My heart goes out to everyone affected. I am sad to confirm that we now know that there have been fatalities and more than 50 people have been taken to hospitals to be treated for injuries. The fire service is dealing with a rapidly changing situation and these numbers are likely to rise," Khan added.

"There will be a great number of 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," Khan further said.

The police closed the A40, a major road leading out of west London, in both directions. London Underground said the Hammersmith and City and Circle lines have been closed between Edgware Road and Hammersmith.

The Fire Brigade said that the exact cause of the fire, which broke out just after 0000 GMT, is yet to be ascertained.