At least 12 dead as fire engulfs London tower block

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MNA International Desk: About 12 people died on Wednesday after a massive inferno tore through a London apartment block, with witnesses reporting terrified residents had leapt from the tower and dropped their children in a desperate bid for survival.

As smoke continued to billow from the gutted building, survivors voiced anger over longstanding safety fears at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, which was home to between 600 and 800 people.

Parents wrapped wet towels around their children as they tried to escape, while others were seen desperately waving for help from the higher floors, which firefighters could not reach at the blaze took hold.

Seventy-eight people were being treated in hospitals, 18 of whom are in a critical condition.

The alarm was raised just before 1:00 am (0000 GMT) and within an hour flames had engulfed the entire block of 120 flats.

More than 200 firefighters had been tackling the blaze and managed to rescue 65 people.

Some 16 hours on, pockets of flame were still burning inside, and fire crews had reached the top. They had used drones to examine the upper floors, reported news agency.