Irish man feared apartment blaze was terror attack
An Irish man living in London has described how he initially thought yesterday's tower block inferno was another terrorist attack to hit the city.
John Keeley (30), from Galway, was on his way to work in Hammersmith when he first heard that the 24-storey Grenfell Tower was up in flames just three miles away.
"I first heard about it on the way to work at 6.30am," he told the Irish Independent.
"I hate to say it but my initial reaction was that it sounds like a terrorist attack, along with utter shock. With all that's been going on lately that's the first thing that came to mind.
"Statements such as people jumping from buildings is horrifying to hear considering I can see this building from my workplace."
Mr Keeley, who has been living in Wimbledon for the past four years, added that he could see the flames up until 11am yesterday morning.
"It's almost surreal looking across west London and seeing the building in flames. Let's hope that casualties are minimal but sadly it doesn't look good," he said.
The Galway man later took a picture of the flaming tower and tweeted: "Looking from Hammersmith and fire still blazing - would be surprised if it stayed up at this rate."
A total of 12 fatalities have been confirmed so far, with 79 people taken to hospital.
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Meanwhile, President Michael D Higgins expressed his profound sympathy to those affected.
"May I offer my heartfelt sympathy and that of the people of Ireland to the families of those who have lost their lives, as well as to those injured and affected by this dreadful tragedy," the President said yesterday.
"Our thoughts are with all those who are grieving or suffering at this sad time.
"I will be writing to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to convey the sympathy and support of the Irish people."