12 confirmed dead in London tower inferno, figure ‘likely to rise’ – police

12 confirmed dead in London tower inferno, figure ‘likely to rise’ – police
Twelve people have now been confirmed dead in the Grenfell Tower fire in West London. Emergency services warn the death toll is likely to rise further.

LIVE UPDATES: West London Grenfell Tower fire

Police Commander Stuart Cundy told reporters: "Sadly I can confirm that there are now 12 people who have died, that we know of. This is going to be a long and complex recovery operation and I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12."

He added: "Whilst we may have accessed every floor that is not the same as a full search of the whole building, and as I said while we currently sadly have 12 fatalities, I do believe that figure will rise and sadly I don't anticipate that there will be further survivors."

Undertakers were pictured leaving the scene with stretchers carrying bodybags, as bodies were removed from the smouldering building. 

There were a considerable number of people inside the tower during the night, he added.

Up to 250 firefighters, backed by 40 fire engines, fought for hours to try to bring the Grenfell Tower block blaze under control.

Fire service officials said 65 people were rescued during the course of the operation.

"I can confirm I have had firefighters manage to get through particularly arduous conditions up to the top floor," director of safety and assurance at London Fire Brigade, Steve Apter, said.

London Fire Brigade said: "Our crews are still working to bring the #GrenfellTower fire under control and are carrying out systematic searches."

The London Ambulance Service added that 68 patients were taken to six hospitals across London. It is believed that 18 of the victims are receiving critical care. A further ten patients checked themselves in at hospitals nearby.

Officials said the fire was unprecedented in “scale, speed and spread.” Forces will remain on the scene throughout the night as the incident remains “live” and “challenging.”

The massive fire engulfed the Grenfell Tower in North Kensington from the second story to the top floor, after starting at around 1am local time. It is believed to have begun on the fourth floor, reportedly due to a faulty refrigerator.