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London fire: Twelve confirmed dead in Grenfell Tower inferno

Police have said the number of fatalities is expected to rise

Gemma Strong

Police have confirmed that 12 people lost their lives after a huge fire engulfed a west London tower block in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with that number expected to rise. It's understood that several hundred people would have been in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower when the fire broke out shortly after midnight, many of them sleeping at the time. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said firefighters had managed to rescue "large numbers", but said there were still "a lot" of people unaccounted for.

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Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said: "I can confirm twelve fatalities at this time but this figure is likely to rise during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days. Many others are receiving medical care. He said it was likely to be some time before police could identify the victims, adding that it was too early to speculate on the cause of the fire. More than 70 people have received treatment in hospital as a result of the blaze, and at least 18 are known to be in a critical condition.

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Paul Munakr, who lives on the seventh floor, managed to escape. He told the BBC: "As I was going down the stairs, there were firefighters, truly amazing firefighters that were actually going upstairs, to the fire, trying to get as many people out the building as possible." He said he was alerted to the fire not by fire alarms but by people on the street below, shouting "don't jump, don't jump". Michael Paramasivan, who lives on the seventh floor with his girlfriend and young daughter, said he ignored official advice to stay in his home. "If we had stayed in that flat, we would've perished,” he said. “My gut instinct told me just to get the girls out. I wrapped the little one up because of the smoke and I just got them out."

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