UPDATE: 6:45 a.m. EDT, Wednesday — At least six people died and 50 people were injured in the fire that erupted at the Grenfell Tower in White City, London at 1:15 am local time (8:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday), according to authorities.

However, the number of casualties is expected to rise as firefighters continue to scan the building for people who could still be trapped inside. “This figure is likely to rise during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days," said Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy. "Many others are receiving medical care. It is likely to take some time before we are in a position to confirm the identity of the victims."

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan refrained from releasing an exact count of the people injured in the fire, stating they had to be sure about the number due to it being “sensitive” news. With many still unaccounted for and possibly trapped inside the building, Khan said that the main focus was to rescue them first.

"At this stage, our focus has to be search and rescue," he said, CNN reported, "but there are very legitimate questions people are asking. I’ll do my best to make sure we get an answer to these questions because they are legitimate questions we all have."

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Dany Cotton admitted "we have absolutely no idea" regarding the number of people who still remain to be rescued from the building that had been ablaze for over nine hours.

It was also pointed out on social media, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Operation (KCTMO), which manages Grenfell Tower, issued a newsletter for residents of the block in May 2016 with a "stay put" policy in the case of a fire. The controversial policy is said to be one of the root causes for the deaths that occurred when Lakanal House in Camberwell went up in flames in July 2009.

"The smoke detection systems have been upgraded and extended," it said. "The Fire Brigade has asked us to reinforce the message that, if there is a fire which is not inside your own home, you are generally safest to stay put in your home to begin with; the Fire Brigade will arrive very quickly if a fire is reported. The only reason you should leave your home is if the fire is inside your home."

KCTMO meanwhile expressed grief and regret over the loss of life that occurred in the tower under their management.

UPDATE: 5:33 a.m. EDT, Wednesday — Although London mayor Sadiq Khan sent out a stream of tweets ever since the Grenfell Tower in White City, London, went up in flames, this is the first time he has released an official statement.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also tweeted, expressing his thoughts and prayers on the “horrific tower block fire in London.”

Firefighters are still "working tirelessly to extinguish the fire and search for any people remaining inside," London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton told reporters, CNN reported.

Multiple firefighters have been injured during the more than 7-hour-long battle to bring the fire under control. Cotton said even firefighters had to seek medical attention after stepping inside the building: "It's very hot in there ... the firefighters are in their special gear, but they were still coming out wounded,” Simone Williams, a nurse who lives in the neighborhood and was one of the first responders on the scene stated.

Reverend Mark O’Donoghue, the area dean of Kensington, has been organizing volunteers since early morning to help Grenfell Tower evacuees at St Clement’s Church.

“We’ve had volunteers here with the doors open since 3.30 receiving people evacuated from their homes because of the tragedy you can see behind you. We are giving people a shoulder to cry on, space for them to rest away from the chaos out here, tea and coffee and the Christian compassion you would hope to receive from the church,” he told the Guardian.

UPDATE: 4:30 a.m. EDT, Wednesday — London Ambulance has now confirmed that it has taken over 50 patients to five hospitals across London, all victims of the massive fire still taking the Grenfell Tower, White City, London, that started around 1:15 am local time (8:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday). Hundreds of medics are hard at work, including ambulance crews, paramedics, trauma teams and London’s Air Ambulance to recover those who are still trapped inside the building.

The leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn has reacted to the incident offering condolences to the families of the victims affected by the fire. He has also praised the emergency services and firefighters for their quick response to the action.

While the former Prime Minister of United Kingdom David Cameron has commented on “horrific pictures” emerging from the scene of the Grenfell Tower, there has been no statement so far from the current Prime Minister Theresa May regarding the same.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has also said vowing to investigate the incident to the core so that people’s safety is never put at risk again.

Local councilman Robert Atkinson has confirmed that 125 families are now homeless having lost everything in the Tower fire. Although it was previously reported that renovation works had been completed long before the fire broke out, the councilman stated that it was not the case and that renovations were ongoing at the time.

"The building needed to be brought up to date with new kitchens and new heating systems," he said, adding that safety certificates had been issued and the council had been, "told it had all been brought up to date."

A local activist, Nile Hailstones, who is also the author of "Grenfell Action Group" blog told CNN: "Serious questions need to be asked and answered by the local council and the emergency authorities.” He added that he had tried to raise concerns regarding the safety of the tower multiple times to the authorities but in vain.

"This goes to the core of what is really going on in this area, the disparity between North Kensington and (other parts of London)," Hailstones said. "As far as I'm concerned, if this was the town hall on fire it would have been put out a long time ago."

Meanwhile, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which is handling fatalities from the Grenfell fire, has declared a "major incident" at the St Mary's and Charing Cross hospitals. This means that these hospitals will only be catering to patients in dire need of assistance.

"Please use your local walk-in center or GP if possible for all non-emergency issues," the Trust said in a statement.

The London Ambulance has also issued a similar declaration, requesting people to call them only if there is a serious emergency.

UPDATE: 3:10 a.m. EDT, Wednesday — The fire that engulfs the Grenfell Tower, White City, London, is showing no sign of slowing down, even as the firefighters are battling it for more than six hours. London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton said “there have been a number of fatalities,” although she refrained from mentioning an exact number, the Guardian reported.

She also added that it was the worst instance of fire that she had seen in the 29 years of her firefighting career. The Metropolitan Police has issued an emergency hotline where people affected by the fire and relatives of the victims can contact.

Afshan Javed, a local resident, whose daughter used to attend a children's nursery located on the ground floor of the building expressed shock. "There are babies and young children that go there," she said, CNN reported. "I'm scared to death even thinking about if my daughter had been in there. I still feel so bad for the people who are inside."

UPDATE: 1:31 a.m. EDT, Wednesday — Thirty people injured in the Grenfell Tower fire have been admitted to five different hospitals, London Ambulance said. Firefighters are still struggling to contain the fire that has been burning for over five hours now.

Local council leader Nick Paget-Brown has stated that the emergency services are still trying to determine how many people have been injured in the fire, CNN reported.

Former fire marshal Robert Rowe told CNN the fire appears to have been "moving very quickly,” which should not have been the case if the water sprinklers in the building had been deployed at the time that the fire broke out. He also suspected the fire sprinkler system "was out of service or there was a malfunction at the time.”

"What a fire sprinkler does, is stop it immediately, you won't have a fire of a magnitude," Rowe said.

One recently rescued resident of the tower, who preferred to stay anonymous, who was recently rescued, said no alarms went off as the fire started.
“I heard my neighbor’s smoke alarm go off, and thought nothing of it. Then I heard a neighbor shouting... I’m lucky to be alive – and lots of people have not got out of the building,” he said, the Guardian reported. “I’ve lost everything I own. I’m standing here in everything I’ve got.”

UPDATE: 1:08 a.m. EDT, Wednesday — The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has tweeted out saying that he is closely monitoring the situation at Grenfell Tower, a 27-storey high building that is still covered in fire and smoke.

Jody Martin, a witness at the scene, stated that he tried to help out when the first fire engine appeared on the scene by grabbing “an axe from the fire truck, it looked like there was a bit of confusion about what to do. I ran around the building looking for a fire escape and couldn’t see any noticeable fire escapes around the building.”

“I watched one person falling out, I watched another woman holding her baby out the window ... hearing screams, I was telling everyone to get down and they were saying, ‘We can’t leave our apartments, the smoke is too bad on the corridors’,” he added, the Telegraph reported.

The list of services receiving people who have been evacuated from their homes is Saint Clement Church and Saint James Church, a parish covering Notting Dale, Notting Hill, North Kensington, and Holland Park.

A40 Westway between Northern Roundabout and Marylebone Road, Westminster, London has been closed in both directions due to the fire.

UPDATE: 12:32 a.m. EDT, Wednesday — People trapped inside the Grenfell Tower, which went up in flames 1:15 am local time (8:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday), Wednesday tweeted out asking for help.

In a social media footage, shared by Celeste Thomas, who lives in the neighborhood, situation near the tower is seen filled with chaos and confusion. Thomas also stated that people could be seen walking around in night clothes, without any shoes on as they searched frantically for their family members.

She also added that the police had told her to stay inside her house and keep all the windows shut, the Guardian reported.

UPDATE: 12.20 a.m. EDT, Wednesday — The cause of the fire that has engulfed almost the entire 27-storey Grenfell Tower residential building in White City, London, is still unknown, according to the London Fire Brigade.

"Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle this fire,” London Fire Brigade assistant Commissioner Dan Daly said.

CNN producer Salma Abdelaziz, who was at the scene of the incident, called it a "terrifying scene." Another witness, Goran Karimi, told CNN he saw people jumping off the burning building in a bid to escape the flames. 20 ambulances with their crews have gathered at the scene and a number of helicopters are hovering above the building, trying to rescue those still trapped at the top of the building.

According to Get West London, a local news website, the Grenfell Tower block had recently undergone a major £10 million refurbishment. The building had received insulated exterior cladding, new double-glazed windows, and a new communal heating system as part of the renovation.

Nick Paget-Brown, who spearheads the Kensington and Chelsea Council and Rock Feilding-Mellen, the deputy of the Council, visited the tower when the renovation was completed May 2016. The council was the one which also funded the renovation, the Guardian reported.

UPDATE: 11:50 p.m. EDT, Tuesday — London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Dan Daly said the fire department has “deployed numerous resources and specialist appliances” in order to tackle the fire that is currently ongoing at the Grenfell Tower in White City, London.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted about the ongoing incident, encouraging people to keep an eye on the Twitter page of the London Fire Brigade for further developments.

The London Ambulance has also sent “a number of resources” to North Kensington to tend to the injured at the scene of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Victoria Goldsmith, a resident of the neighborhood where the fire is, said: “There were two people trapped on the top, they were using their mobile phones. One woman was having a panic attack. The woman had seen everything she owned had gone up in flames,” the Telegraph reported.

Original story:

Grenfell Tower, a 27-storey residential building on Latimer Road in White City, London, went up in flames at around 1:15 a.m. local time Wednesday (8:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday). Soon after, social media was flooded with people posting pictures of the massive blaze while some residents of the building are reportedly still trapped inside.

According to early reports, 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines have gathered on the scene, trying to get the fire under control. The flames covered almost the entire building, from the second floor up, the London Fire Brigade said. The building was built in 1974 and houses 120 homes.

The Metropolitan Police said “an evacuation process is under way,” BBC reported. Another spokesman for the police also added: “Officers, the London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service are currently at the scene.”

Some people were being treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and cordons have been set in place across the area, Gold Coast Bulletin reported. It is not immediately clear is there were any fatalities until this point.

Onlookers were told to stand at a safe distance from the burning building as debris have already started falling from the building and the police fear that the building might collapse at any point. A witness told BBC that Grenfell was "close to burning through."

According to News, a witness told BBC Radio: “There are parents and kids in pajamas waiting outside.” Another eyewitness said the firemen were “struggling to get in and out because there is just one narrow road in and one narrow road out.”

Also, there have been unconfirmed reports of the people screaming for help inside the tower and some residents even trying to escape from the building by using ropes made out of bed sheets.

George Clarke, the presenter of “Amazing Spaces,” who was at the scene, told Radio 5 Live he saw people waving flashlights from the top level of the building. He also added that ash from the burning building had spread over 100 meters (yards) from the scene, according to the Guardian.

“It’s so heartbreaking, I’ve seen someone flashing their torches at the top level and they obviously can’t get out,” Clarke said.

Grenfell Tower is located beside Kensington Aldridge Academy School, and both buildings are managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation. Some Twitter users blamed the fire on KCTMO, blaming it for not doing its job properly.

This is a developing story.