Grenfell Tower on June 14, 2017.
Rex Features via AP Images Grenfell Tower on June 14, 2017.

A 24-story residential tower in London caught fire early Wednesday morning local time in what the London Fire Brigade described as an "unprecedented situation." Six people have been confirmed dead (*Update, 12:24 PM EST: The number of fatalities has increased to 12, according to London's Metropolitan Police Service.), with dozens more taken to hospitals. (The Guardian is live-blogging updates.)

Located in North Kensington, the Grenfell Tower contains 120 units and was first constructed in 1974. The building was recently renovated. According to The Guardian, a spokesperson for Rydon, the main contractor for the renovation, said that the company "completed a refurbishment of the building in the summer of 2016 for KCTMO [the Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation] on behalf of the Council, which met all required building control, fire regulation and health & safety standards." The Guardian also spoke to the renovation architecture firm, Studio E: "A spokeswoman said: 'We are devastated about what has happened,' but declined to comment further."

In a statement posted on Twitter, London's Metropolitan Police Service notes: "It is likely to take some time before we are able to confirm the cause of the fire." Some experts and residents speculate that the rainscreen cladding may have helped spread the fire, according to The Independent. "The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but a tenant group had complained for years that the management company was inattentive and that the building was at risk of a deadly fire," reports The New York Times.

A resident of the building who was able to evacuate told Today that the building does not have an integrated fire-alarm system. Another resident told the BBC that he learned about the fire from shouts from the street.

Mayor Sadiq Khan, the Metropolitan Police Service, and the London Fire Brigade posted statements on social media, which are embedded below.

This post has been updated.