The stories coming from this London high-rise fire that has completely engulfed all 27-floors of the Grenfell Tower are heartbreaking. With 12 confirmed dead by Wednesday evening, there are concerns that many others were trapped inside the inferno and perished. Area hospitals are treating about 74 people who were hurt in this fire, 20 of those hurt are in critical condition.
Update Wednesday evening: The death toll for this fire has risen to 12. Many residents out of the approximately 500 people who lived in this now charred building are still unaccounted for, so the number of dead is expected to rise, according to The Washington Post. The stories of children banging at the windows trying to get away from the smoke and flames, people jumping out the windows from 20 stories up and children tossed to the crowd below are plentiful today. This was a building that offered affordable housing to families.
The number of people who have perished in this fire is expected to rise, according to police commander Stuart Cundy. He called this an “unprecedented” fire, which engulfed the apartment high-rise building very quickly. Cundy also reported that the “complex recovery” effort will be an operation that will take a number of days, reports 9 News.
According to Fox & Friends Wednesday morning there are major concerns that this building may collapse as this fire still smolders in this charred London apartment high-rise. The flames started on the second floor and in no time the fire spread right up through the building to the 27th floor.
People were dangling from windows from the floors above, with jumping to their death the only option to escape the flames. Some were seen hanging off the building with bed sheets tied together screaming for help. Witnesses below on the street stood in shock as there was nothing they could do for the people trying to escape these flames by climbing out of the windows on the higher floors.
The Guardian reports the heart-wrenching scene of a woman on the ninth or tenth floor holding a baby in her arms at a window before she dropped that baby in hopes that the crowd below would catch the infant. This scene was described to the reporters by a witness, Samira Lamrai, who was on the street looking up at the inferno before emergency services arrived.
Lamrai said there was a terrified woman, believed to be the baby’s mother, who appeared at the window gesturing to the crowd below that she was about to drop her baby. The woman, who looked to be in massive fear, did throw the infant and “a gentleman ran forward and managed to grab the baby,” breaking the infants fall from about 10 floors above. The woman dropped the baby in an attempt to save the infant’s life, which witnesses believed was the only option left for this mom at the time.
Lamrai said she could hear the screams, many of them coming from children. People were banging on the windows of the engulfed highrise pleading for help. You can see two of the residents in the picture above. They are at the window attempting to signal for help.
From what Lamrai has said, it sounds as if she was there before the emergency services arrived because she reports that all the crowd below could do was reassure these people that help is coming, they’ve called 999, which is Britain’s equivalent to 911 in the states. She said you could tell by the look on the faces of these people trapped and screaming at the windows for help that they knew they were facing death.
There were an “endless numbers of people, many kids” screaming and banging at the windows “floor upon floor” each time Lamrai looked up she could see more panicked people, she said. Because of the early hour of this fire, many residents were home asleep, reports Fox & Friends live on Wednesday morning.
The only thing that the crowd could do that had gathered below the flaming building was to yell up at the people in the windows and reassure them that help is coming. They told these trapped victims that they’ve called 999, which is Britain’s equivalent to 911 in the states. The voices of these people as they screamed for someone to save their lives, is something that Lamrai said will stay with her for a very long time.
Another witness who gave only her first name, Zara saw another mother throw her child to the crowd below. This child was about five-years-old and he was with his mother on the fifth or sixth floor. Zara said that she believes he is alright, she thought that he might have broken a bone or two and possibly received some bruises, but the last time that she saw the child, he was alive. Zara, like Lamrai, stood below this inferno watching these trapped victims absolutely helpless to do anything. There was nothing they could do for these people with sheer terror on their faces as they screamed for help for their families.
[Featured Image by Matt Dunham/AP Images]