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At least 12 killed in the London fire 伦敦大火至少12人丧生

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Grief turned to anger as firefighters continued to battle one of London’s biggest fire disasters in recent memory and leaders faced questions about possible fire safety violations.

Police say at least 12 people were killed as a rapidly-moving blaze raced through a 24-story apartment building in West London in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday, trapping residents.

The death toll was expected to rise as firefighters went floor by floor, dousing the remaining flames and searching for survivors and victims in the high-rise.

Grenfell Tower contained an estimated 120 apartments and was home to as many as 600 people. The building is in an ethnically diverse, densely populated West London’s North Kensington area. Among those missing on Wednesday were a number of children.

Witnesses said they heard screams for help as the fire stormed through the floors, trapping residents who could be seen from windows flashing their cell phone lights in hopes of being rescued. Witnesses said some residents held small children from windows while other people jumped from the lower stories of the building.

As the building continued to burn after noon Wednesday, questions emerged on why the fire spread through the building so quickly in a city where a centuries-old history of disastrous fires has forced one of the world’s most stringent fire codes.

Some residents evacuated from the building said they did not hear fire alarms. Some reported smelling burning plastic in the early moments of the fire, which broke out just after midnight. Questions pointed to non-existent or malfunctioning sprinklers, flammable plastic building components, and insufficient fire escapes.

Survivors also said they received orders from emergency workers to stay in their apartments, a standard fire procedure but one that angry residents said was the wrong thing to do this time.

Fire investigators said it was too early to tell what started the fire or caused it to spread so rapidly. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the focus Wednesday was on search and rescue, but “many, many people have legitimate questions that demand answers,” Khan said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May called an emergency meeting on dealing with the disaster. A spokesman for Number 10 Downing Street said May “is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life.”

Officials said it could be days before an investigation could yield any hint of what caused the fire or why it spread so quickly.

消防人员继续与伦敦多年来最大规模的火灾搏斗。与此同时,悲伤变成了愤怒,伦敦领导人要回答这次火灾是否由防火安全违规而引发的问题。

这场星期三凌晨发生的大火燃烧迅速,很快吞噬了伦敦西部的一座24层公寓楼,把住户困在大楼里。警方说,至少有12人丧生。

消防人员逐层检查,扑灭火焰,搜寻幸存者和遇害者,估计随着搜救工作的继续,死亡人数还会上升。

格伦菲尔居民楼位于族裔多样、人口密集的伦敦北肯辛顿区。有关官员说,楼里有大约120个公寓,住着多达600人。有一些孩子星期三上午在大火中失踪。

目击者说,大火迅速在各层楼之间蔓延,他们听到有人呼救,可以看到被困在楼里的居民在窗户前,把手机灯光打开,希望以此获救。目击者说,一些居民在窗户前抱着孩子,还有一些人从低楼层跳出。

星期三中午过后,大火继续燃烧。有人提出质疑,为什么火灾会在楼内如此迅速地蔓延。由于几百年来反复发生大火灾,伦敦的消防规章是全世界最严格的。

一些从楼内转移出来的居民说,他们没有听到火警。一些人报告说,午夜过后火灾刚发生时,他们曾闻到塑料烧焦的气味。有人指出,该公寓楼存在喷水灭火系统不存在或失灵、塑料建筑部件易燃、火灾逃生梯子不够等问题。

幸存者还说,急救人员要他们待在公寓里,这虽然是消防的常规程序,但这次却是错误的。

火灾调查人员说,现在还无法确认火灾究竟是怎么引起的,火灾如此迅速蔓延的原因是什么。伦敦市长萨迪克·汗说,眼下当务之急是搜寻和救援,但“很多很多人有合理的问题需要回答。”

英国首相特雷莎·梅召集紧急会议,商量救灾事宜。她的发言人说:“特雷莎·梅首相对伤亡深感哀痛。”

有关官员说,调查要过一些日子才能得出结果,知道起火和火势扩散迅速的原因。

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