A London firefighter who ran into the Grenfell Tower blaze to rescue those trapped inside says the scene was like the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre.
More than 200 firefighters battled the blaze well in to daylight, and officials have warned it will take days for them to search the block for survivors or victims.
Firefighters use a riot shield as protection from falling rubble at the 24-storey residential Grenfell Tower block.
Terry, who has been a firefighter for 27 years, said his crew were involved in rescues on the stairwell of the building, and he went as high as the 10th floor.
“We were just meeting people coming down the stairs in smoke. I don’t know how they were breathing. We were in breathing apparatus, and we were like literally carrying them down the stairs.”
As dawn broke there was no respite.
“To get into the building we had to run the gauntlet of the debris,” Terry said.
“The police was providing riot shields, so we were running the gauntlet every time we went into the lobby.”
He compared the scene to the September 11 attacks on the US in 2001 when terrorists hijacked passenger planes and crashed them the towers of the World Trade Centre in New York.
“There was hose going everywhere. There was one small staircase that everyone was going up. It was just like them images of 9/11,” Terry said. “It’s like a war zone there.” He had never seen anything like it before.
When he arrived at the scene around 2am (local time), only one side of the building was on fire but within a couple of hours the tower was engulfed. He spent eight hours working on the fire.
“One of my colleagues was hit by someone who jumped out of a window.
“To see a whole 24-storey building go up in flames how does that happen? How does that happen in a first world country? How it happens in London in 2017 is anyone’s guess.” Washington Post