London Fire: Baby dropped, caught as high-rise burns

Cheryl Sanders
June 15, 2017

Terrified residents of the Grenfell Tower said there was little warning of the inferno that engulfed their high-rise apartment building and left 12 people dead - a toll that officials said would nearly certainly rise.

A baby thrown from the window of a blazing high-rise apartment building in London early Wednesday fell at least nine floors before being caught by a bystander, according to a witness.

"I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12", Police Commander Stuart Cundy said.

Residents who escaped spoke of others trapped and screaming for help, with some holding children from windows and others jumping from upper floors.

The chief executive of KCTMO, Robert Black, told media that the company was investigating any causes that led to Wednesday's fire: "Currently, we're focusing on helping those residents and London Fire Brigade is investigating the safety of the tower's structure but we will issue a further statement in due course".

Eighteen people are in critical care after 79 injured people were taken to hospital.

'We need to have an audit of all high-rise buildings which have cladding to ensure that it's fire-retardant, meets Australian standards or if it's not, it needs to be removed.' independent senator Nick Xenophon told Sky News on Thursday.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, noted that emergency services are working in hard conditions because of the size of the building and the scale of the fire. The building was recently upgraded at a cost of 8.6 million pounds ($11 million), with work to modernize the exterior finishing in May 2016.

The video then shows her calling to police, telling them they are stuck on the 23rd floor of the building.

The local council of Kensington and Chelsea, which owns the block, said its focus was on supporting the rescue and relief operation.

"The windows were slightly ajar, a woman was gesturing that she was about to throw her baby and if somebody could catch her baby".

As the fire started just after midnight, most people in the building were asleep.

Samira Lamrani said she saw a woman drop a baby from a window on the ninth or 10th floor to people on the sidewalk. Officials said it could be days before an investigation could yield any hint of what caused the fire or why it spread so quickly.

The burned facade of the tower is seen as firefighters tackle a serious fire at Latimer Road in West London.

He said the fire service was "dealing with a rapidly changing situation and these (casualty) numbers are likely to rise". The Grenfell Action Group, a community organization, says it has repeatedly warned about the risk of fire at the building since 2013.

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