The fire chief in charge of the operation at Grenfell tower, commissioner Dany Cotton has praised her firefighters for doing a “sterling job” as they fought their way to tackle the fire.
She said: “The scene that I was confronted with was unparalleled to anything I had seen before. The build was ablaze, I have truly never seen that in a high-rise building.”
“My crews that turned up did absolutely sterling work.
“Even though the building was alight from top to bottom and they were in fear of their own lives – they were in and out of that building, committing time after time to rescue the people that we knew were in there. There was never any hesitation.
“I was truly anxious for a long time about the safety of the building and my firefighters in there.
“But they were never going to stop until they physically couldn’t get in there anymore.”
Cotton further added that the firefighters had seen people jumping and throwing children out of the windows, it was horrific.
She said: “I spoke to one of my officers who was very near when someone came out the window, and he was in tears, and he is a professional fire officer.
“We like to think of ourselves as roughty, toughty and heroes – they are heroes, but they have feelings, and people were absolutely devastated by yesterday’s events.”
“It was the worst thing I have ever seen.
“It was a horrendous, major incident of a large scale that involved so many people it was beyond belief.
“Words cannot describe it, it was just that truly awful.”
Structural surveyors and other specialists have now said that the building is not safe for them to go out “to the edges of the building.”
Cotton said speaking with Sky News: “Structural surveyors and other specialists are working with the fire service to see how it can be made safe, so that we can continue working with the police to do that fingertip search of the rest of the building.”
“The fire is now out, there are small pockets of smouldering. You will see wisps of smoke coming out all day due to the heat of the building and the remaining contents.
“There are, as we believe, still unknown numbers of people in the building.
“Due to the severity of the fire and the way things are, it will take a long time for us to be able to do that search to properly identity anyone who is left in the building, but we will do that as soon as we can in conjunction with the police.
“Tragically now we are not expecting to find anyone else alive.
“The severity and the heat of the fire will mean that it will be an absolute miracle for anyone to be left alive.”