An enormous fire ravaged an apartment block in London, killing at least 12 residents, hospitalising dozens and displacing hundreds more.
The blaze ripped through the 24-floor Grenfell Tower in West London in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Smoke started to billow from the tower, home to as many as 600 people, just before 1am. It was soon engulfed with flames, and could be seen from miles around.
The building continued to smoulder well into Wednesday afternoon, despite the efforts of 200 firefighters.
London fire services managed to evacuate many of the residents – but entire floors of people were still unaccounted for more than 16 hours after the first rescuers arrived.
Fire at #GrenfellTower: Commander Cundy has confirmed the number of fatalities has risen to 12 "we believe this number will sadly increase"
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) June 14, 2017
In a statement released around 5pm local time (midday EST), the Metropolitan Police confirmed 12 deaths, and said they expect the total to keep rising.
Some inside say that fire alarms failed to sound, and have accused the building’s managers of neglecting to properly protect the building from the risk of fire.
Residents who escaped told harrowing stories of seeing their neighbours trapped in their apartments as the flames advanced towards them.
Some people jumped to escape the flames, or tried to lower themselves out of windows with ropes made from bed sheets.
There were reports of parents throwing their children out of the windows in desperation – with one baby allegedly being caught by a member of the public after falling ten floors.
Londoners rallied round to offer food and shelter to the victims. Various fundraising appeals had amassed close to $500,000 by Wednesday evening.