By the time the sun rose, Grenfell Tower was already a blackened shell. The fire had begun as the city slept on June 14, when a faulty refrigerator exploded in a flat on the fourth floor. Within minutes, it had spread out of control, sweeping up the building’s exterior and invading the corridors before any alarm could be raised.
As 200 firefighters descended on North Kensington to battle the inferno, witnesses report seeing their neighbors hanging from windows to escape the smoke. At least two are thought to have jumped from the 23rd floor. One mother wrapped her four-year-old in a blanket and dropped her from a ninth-floor window; she was caught by a bystander. Photos taken at 4 a.m. show the entire 70-meter-high tower engulfed in flames.