Smoke still billowed from the 24- storey residential tower block in west London that was engulfed in a massive fire after firefighters doused the blaze that claimed at least 12 lives, even as many people were still unaccounted for with little chance of finding survivors.
The fire at Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate in Latimer Road was reported at 01:16 AM (local time) yesterday. About 600 people were believed to have been inside the tower’s 120 flats, many of them asleep, when the blaze ripped through the building.
London fire commissioner Dany Cotton said it was not safe for fire crews to go all the way out to the edges of the building.
However, residents of the building have showered praises on Muslims and their Holy month of Ramadan adding that had it not been for the fasting month, the death toll could have been significantly higher.
Ahmed Chellat, who lives near the building, told Sky News, “If it wasn’t for Ramadan, there would have been more casualties,” as more people would have been asleep at the time of the emergency.
Ashin Sha told London’s Evening Standard newspaper that he rushed over from Leyton when he heard about the inferno because his aunt lives on the second floor of the building.
Chellat, a relative of missing residents from the Grenfell Tower in west London, told the broadcaster the fire happened when “everybody is awake to have their last supper,” before opening their fast for the day.
“That’s why so many lives were saved. If it wasn’t for that, there would have been more casualties,” he said.
The 30-year-old said: “They’re on Ramadan and at that time during the week were the only ones awake. That’s why they were able to raise the alarm.”
The fire is believed to have started around the third or fourth floor.
One local resident was filmed praising members of the Muslim community in the aftermath of the fire.
“If it wasn’t for all these young Muslim boys round here, helping us, coming from Mosque, people would’ve [been] dead, more people would’ve [been] dead,” the woman is seen saying.
“They were the first people with bags of water giving to people, helping people. They were running and telling people,” she was quoted as saying.