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London tower fire death toll increases to 12; number expected to continue to rise

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Sam Meredith | @smeredith19 4 months ago
London tower fire death toll increases to 12; number expected to continue to rise

A further 10 people were said to have made their own way to the hospital, taking the total to 74.

The cause of the fire remains unknown at this stage, the Fire Brigade said. However, local media reports suggest that witnesses at the scene have pointed to a faulty fridge as the cause of the fire.

Samira Lamrani, who lives on nearby Hurstway Walk and was present at the scene, told the Press Association that a resident said he had called the emergency services after his fridge caught fire. He is thought to have lived on either the second or fourth floor, though the reports are yet to be confirmed.

"When I arrived on the scene he (the resident) was amongst the people that were standing there," Lamrani said.

"He was just beside himself. He was just as surprised at how quickly the fire spread as anybody else.

"I could hear him saying that he contacted the emergency services immediately and they reassured him everything would be under control within a short period of time, and obviously it wasn't." London's Fire Brigade Commissioner told reporters that while the building appeared to be safe for crews to work in, a structural engineer is continuing to monitor the safety of the tower block."At the moment the building continues to be safe for our crews to go and work in," Cotton said.

An action group at the west London tower block had repeatedly warned of a fire risk and suggested a similar incident was narrowly avoided after a power surge in 2013.The Grenfell Action Group claimed their concerns were dismissed by Kensington and Chelsea council, which owns the block of flats, as well as the local tenant management organisation (KCTMO) which runs the borough's homes."All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time," the Grenfell Action Group said in a blog post published Wednesday.Kensington and Chelsea council were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC on Wednesday morning.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said questions would need to be answered in the aftermath of the fire at Grenfell Tower which has killed several people. Further to the frequent blog posts from the Grenfell Action Group, residents reportedly claimed they had been advised to stay in their flats in the event of a fire.When Khan was asked about these concerns in an interview with BBC radio, he replied, "These questions are really important questions that need to be answered".He added, "Across London, we have many, many tower blocks and what we can't have is a situation where people's safety is put at risk because of bad advice being given or if it's the case, as has been alleged, of tower blocks not being properly serviced or maintained."

- CNBC's Karen Gilchrist contributed to this report. Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.

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