Transcript for Massive London high-rise fire leaves at least 12 dead
Now to the high rise in London that went up in flames with scores of files inside, many of them asleep. One mother dropping her baby out a window to somebody below. Were safety warnings missed before this inferno? Here's ABC's James lonman. Reporter: An inferno in the middle of the night. An entire building in flames. Explosions. Fireballs. Residents trapped inside this 24-story London high rise, home to at least 500 people. Many of them asleep as the fire crept higher and higher. We could hear people screaming help me, help me. Oh, my -- Reporter: An eyewitness recording this daring escape attempt. This guy's sending a rope! Don't do it! Reporter: Residents dropping down makeshift ropes fashioned from bedsheets. Then an act of utter desperation as the building was engulfed in flames. A lady appeared at the window, what she was saying, I'm about to throw my baby, please catch the baby. Reporter: Witnesses saying the baby fell nearly ten stories. Miraculously was safely caught by a bystander. Hello, come here! Come here! Reporter: Then this harrowing Facebook live video apparently filmed by a resident trapped inside the building. We're stuck on the 23rd floof! Hello! There's too many people stuck upstairs! Reporter: Many residents of the tower still missing. So far 12 people have been confirmed dead. And I do anticipate the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12. Reporter: More than 70 people remain hospitalized as firefighters continue what could be a grim search in a still-smoldering building. We're told that firemen have now been able to go room by room in that building looking for survivors. And of course retrieving any dead bodies that may need to be found. Over 200 firefighters were called to grenville tower, some coming dangerously close to the blaze. Others pushing bystanders back. Can you please move back, everybody, stand here! Reporter: Fearful the building could collapse. Do you live in the building? I do. Reporter: Hernan and her family live on the ninth floor. She says she was awoken from her sleep by the smell of smoke. My son found my daughter a my husband and we just left the flat. My brother lives on the 21st floor. When I came down, I kept calling. I could see literally flames just rising up. I called him to say, can you get out? He said he can't get out, the smoke was too much, they advised him to stay in the flats. Your brother is still trapped? I've been waiting. My family's gone round to hospitals. His wife and three children. Reporter: Some residents speaking out saying their complaints about the building's safety were ignored. There are serious questions being raised about why the fire spread so rapidly and whether fire alarms were working properly. Some residents telling me today that they believe decorative cladding recently added to the tower's exterior may have fueled the blaze up the height of the building. They have a significant amount of plastic on the inside of them. That of course is combustible, it will burn. When you stack them one atop the other on the outside of a building, a fire can travel literally from the bottom to the top. Reporter: According to bbc this sign was posted inside the tower telling residents to stay in their homes in case of fire. Experts say that is often the safest choice, but not with a fire of this magnitude. In just about every high rise fire in America we tell people to stay in their apartments. In the case of the fire in London, this was an exterior fire that was involving dozens of apartments simultaneously. And so that's a situation where you shift to a full building evacuation. Reporter: Building plans appear to show that the tower had only one staircase which would have made getting out more difficult. Today Grenfell's building management firm released this statement. We are aware that concerns have been raised historically by residents. We always take all concerns seriously and these will form part of our forthcoming investigations." It's too early to speculate what caused the fire and contributed to its spread, we will cooperate fully with all the relevant authorities in order to ascertain the cause of this tragedy." Questions biwill continue to swirl around this catastrophic blaze will the residents of the tower grapple with how much they've lost. We lost everything. But we're unharmed. Literally in what you have now? I have my phone, I have my cards, I have my keys to my house. A house you don't have. Yeah. Reporter: The response from the local community has been incredible. Bottles of water, food, provisions, blankets, everything people need to get them through. The displaced residents currently living in temporary shelters grateful to be alive but unsure what was will happen next. People have lost their homes. Children have seen things. People were jumping out the window. We just need to rebuild as a Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm James Longman in London. Our thanks to James Longman for his first "Nightline" report.
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