Photo courtesy of CNN
According to an NBC News report, 12 people have died and 78 people were injured at Grenfell Tower, a high-rise residential building in West London, England, after a fire broke out at the 24-story apartment “block” early Wednesday morning. The cause of the fire, which reportedly spread quite rapidly, has not yet been determined; additional fatalities are expected.
More than 250 firefighters and 40 fire trucks were on-scene, battling the fire through the night, and it has yet to be fully extinguished. NBC reports that Grenfell Tower has approximately 130 units; a BBC News article noted that the tower houses between 400 and 600 people.
“In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never, ever seen anything of this scale,” said London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton. “This is a major fire that’s affected all floors of the 24-story structure from the second floor upwards.”
A New York Times article reports that Grenfell Tower was constructed in 1974, and underwent a $12.8 million renovation that was completed last year, which included the installation of insulated exterior cladding and replacement windows. Whether those features contributed to the fire's quick spread has yet to be determined. Exterior cladding has been a contributing factor to high-rise fires in Dubai, including The Address Hotel fire that occurred on New Year's Eve in 2015.