The UK watched in horror as fire ripped through Grenfell Tower in West London early yesterday morning, killing at least 17 people and injuring more then 30.
Whilst the full scale of the tragedy is still unfolding, with reports that the emergency services are unlikely to find any more survivors in the building, the death toll is expected to rise significantly.
Firefighters were called to the 24-storey tower at 00:54 BST on Wednesday 14th June, and fought the blaze throughout the night, into the day, and onto the following night.
Dozens of people have lost family and friends, and up to 600 are believed to have been left homeless by the blaze, which is thought to have started on the third or fourth floor – caused by an, as yet, unknown source.
Out of the horror come tales of heroism – the father who led his pregnant wife and youngest daughter to safety only to realise his eldest daughter had not made it out and rushed back upstairs to find her; the residents who alerted their neighbours to the fire delaying their own escapes; the 200+ firefighters who battled the blaze for hours, many entering the burning building to rescue those trapped within...
'Even though the building was alight from top to bottom,' said Commissioner Dany Cotton, 'and [the firefighters] were in fear of their own lives, they were in and out of that building, committing time after time to rescuing those people that we knew were in there.'
Their bravery of all those who put their lives at risk to save others cannot be underestimated.
As the community struggles to come to terms with what has happened, London has responded.
Mosques, churches and community centres have thrown open their doors to shelter those affected. Donations of clothes, food, toiletries and other provisions have poured in from around the city, and an army of volunteers has assembled, working tirelessly day and night to help house, feed and water those who have been left with nothing.
There are stories of people of all ages working alongside one another and bravery from the youngest of victims, like the school children described in the tweet below.
As questions are asked as to how – HOW? – a tragedy of this magnitude could happen in the 21st century, the capital and country have come together today to mourn the devastating loss of so many lives.
Those wishing to donate to the Evening Standard's fund for victims of the Grenfell Tower fire can do so by CLICKING HERE