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Grenfell Tower fire: Everything we know so far about the blaze which has killed at least 12

A huge fire engulfed a block of flats in North Kensington on Wednesday (June 14)

A huge fire tore through a tower block of flats in North Kensington in the early hours of Wednesday (June 14) morning.

Hundreds of firefighters from across the capital and 45 fire engines were called at around 12.54am to tackle the blaze as it tore through the building , arriving within six minutes of the first 999 call.

London Fire Brigade believe the fire spread from the second floor to the top floor of the 27-storey Grenfell Tower, which has up to 130 flats and was built in 1974 .

A total of 12 people are confirmed dead so far.

A total of 74 patients are being treated in six hospitals across London and 20 are in critical care.

As the fire broke out, onlookers have reported hearing people "screaming for their lives" from inside the building.

Residents resorted to using bedsheets tied together as a rope in a bid to escape and people flashed lights in their rooms to attract attention.

Concerns had previously been raised about the building's fire safety, with the new Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad telling Radio 4's Today Programme that "there have been a lot of concerns over the past few years on various fire issues."

Grenfell Action Group said the fire was “inevitable and just a matter of time” but their warnings "fell on deaf ears" in a series of blog posts on its site highlighting fire safety concerns.

Reports have also emerged that residents were advised to stay in their flats in the event of a fire, in advice that was outlined in Grenfell Tower Regeneration Newsletter in July 2014.

A number of people are unaccounted for and relatives have issued urgent pleas to find those reported missing.

What road closures are in place?

Motorists have been advised to avoid the area and buses serving west London were being delayed by up to an hour.

The A40 Westway was shut both ways between the Northern Roundabout and Marylebone Road and Grenfell Road has been closed.

Bus passes are being accepted on London Underground Zones 1 and 2.

A deserted A40 Westway close to Grenfell Tower(Image: Rick Findler/PA Wire)

Bus diversion information can be found on the Transport for London (TfL) website .

On the Tube, there was no service on the Circle Line and Hammersmith & City Line between Hammersmith and Edgware Road, with minor and severe delays respectively on the rest of the lines.

A number of people are currently unaccounted for and relatives have issued urgent pleas to find those residents reported missing.

What do we know about Grenfell Tower?

The building, which is more than 40 years old, received an £8.7m upgrade which was completed in 2016.

Developer Rydon said this upgrade included fitting rain screen cladding, curtain wall façade and replacement windows, improving thermal insulation and modernising the exterior of the building.

Internally, the work included remodelling the lower floor space was to incorporate extra new homes as well as a nursery, which was relocated from another part of the building.

The Rydon website adds that a new heating system was installed, which "contributes to reducing living costs of residents".

Where is Grenfell Tower?

The tower is in North Kensington, just off of the A40 Westway and the nearest station is Latimer Road Station.

Just 800m south east is Westfield Shopping Centre, and Shepherd's Bush is 1,400m south east.

Portabello Market is around 950m to the east.

What can people do to help?

A number of drop-off points have been set up across west London and people are being encouraged to take anything they can to them.

A JustGiving page has also been set up to help those affected.

QPR Chairman Tony Fernandes has said he has asked those at the club to open its doors following the fire, which developed just minutes away from the club's ground Loftus Road.

And Fulham Football Club will be open to accept donations from fans, staff and local residents to provide the victims with support and items they desperately need.

Sandwiches are handed out to local residents near the scene of the fire(Image: Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

A Facebook group, named "Grenfell Tower residents at RPT" has been set up to help find people who may be sheltering in the surrounding area.

A rest centre at Harrow Centre, Freston Road and an emergency contact number have also been set up for people who have been affected.

The Casualty Bureau number is 0800 0961 233.

We've also set up a JustGiving page in aid of those affected. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/grenfell-tower-support .

For the latest updates on the fire, visit our live blog which we will be updating throughout the day .

The Metropolitan Police Casualty Bureau is open for members of the public who are concerned about relatives or friends who may have been affected the fire.

The number for the Casualty Bureau is 0800 0961 233.

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