NATIONAL: Tower block blaze death toll reaches 12 and will rise

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THE death toll of the London tower block blaze has reached 12 and is expected to rise further.

The announcement comes as a firefighter who helped tackle the Grenfell Tower blaze has compared the scene to a ‘war zone’.

Emergency services close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

Emergency services close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London

The emergency worker, called Terry, who spent eight hours working at the scene in North Kensington, said he had ‘seen nothing like it’ during his 27 years with the fire service.

He told LBC Radio: ‘We had to literally run under police riot shields because of the amount of flaming debris, just to get into the building.

‘There was one small staircase that everyone was going up. It was just like the images of 9/11.

‘We were going up the staircase and people were coming down in smoke. I don’t know how they were breathing.’

Terry said he went up as far as the 10th floor, adding: ‘The amount of kit that this job has absorbed from the London Fire Brigade is unbelievable. It’s like a war zone here.’

The firefighter, who worked in the aftermath of the IRA bombing at Canary Wharf in 1996, said no amount of planning could prepare the emergency services to deal with a fire so catastrophic.

Describing the carnage and desperation of people trapped in their flats, he added: ‘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.’