Residents have described in chilling detail how they fled a west London apartment block as fire ravaged the building Wednesday.
Multiple people died and dozens were injured after a blaze tore through the 27-story Grenfell Tower building in Ladbroke Grove from 1 a.m. local time, authorities said. Investigators said they were still trying to determine the cause of the fire.
Stories are now emerging of how residents helped older relatives and young children to safety. One woman recounted watching a mother throw her baby from the ninth floor of the building, into the arms of a member of the public below.
“There were screeches and there was a lady frantically gesturing out of the window and screaming that she was about to throw the baby,” she told HuffPost UK. “She wrapped her baby in what seemed like a sheet or blanket and threw the young baby out of the window.”
“A member of the public, a guy ran forward and just miraculously grabbed the baby at the right moment and then the shadow, I assume the mother, went backwards and that was the last we saw,” the woman added. “I’m not sure what the guy did with the baby but the baby was picked up safely.”
In an interview that Channel 4 News reporter Assed Baig posted to Twitter, an unidentified man recalled how he assisted his 68-year-old aunt in fleeing from their 17th floor home.
Watch the full interview here:
Alerted to the danger after spotting fire trucks pulling up outside the high-rise, the man said “there was no fire alarms anywhere, because we don’t have a kind of integrated fire system. It’s just everyone’s house for itself.”
After walking into a communal area and smelling smoke, he said he returned inside, looked out the window and saw flames “coming up really fast, because of the cladding.” “It just caught up like a matchstick,” the man added.
He woke up his aunt and they slowly descended the stairs.“It was difficult for her,” he said. Both feared they’d be trapped inside the tower block on reaching the ground floor.
“It was really, really worrying,” he added. “But we got out. We lost everything, everything. I mean, I got only what I’m wearing on me, and my phone. That’s it.”
Another man who lived on the seventh floor with his girlfriend and her daughter told the BBC (below) how he woke up at around 1.30 a.m. after smelling “something plasticky.”
After checking his gadgets weren’t on fire, he opened the front door and saw smoke and his neighbors “running everywhere.” He grabbed his girlfriend and the young girl, and took them down to safety outside via the stairs.
“Now, our advice was always been told, if there’s a fire stay in your flat,” he said, a claim other residents and members of the Grenfell Action Group made as recently as last year about the apartment block run by a tenant management group on behalf of the local council. “If we’d stayed in that flat, we’d have been perished.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.