15/06/2017 1:36 AM AEST | Updated 15/06/2017 8:09 AM AEST

London Fire: Locals Praise Muslims For Helping Save Lives

Muslims who were awake late to eat before resuming their Ramadan fast may have saved lives in Grenfell Tower, HuffPost UK has been told.

As a blaze took hold of the west London building in the middle of the night, many of its residents were fast asleep.

But Muslims were awake for Suhur, the meal before they begin fasting again during daylight hours.

HuffPost UK spoke to people at the scene who said that their actions in rousing their neighbours almost certainly saved lives.

One local woman told HuffPost UK: “Thank God for Ramadan.”

PA Wire/PA Images
Grenfell Tower continues to smoke on Wednesday afternoon

Another added: “They just pushed past the police and ran to the tower block and started screaming at the people [inside] and trying to help them. They ran into the building.

“If it wasn’t for all these young Muslim boys round here helping us, coming from mosques, ‘nuff more people would have been dead.

“They were the first people bringing bags of water to people, helping people and running and telling people from all around, not just from our estate.”

HuffPost UK also spoke to a Muslim man who lived in Grenfell Tower who said he went to wake his neighbours.

Khalid Suleman Ahmed, 20, recently moved to Grenfell Tower with his auntie and lives on the eighth floor.

Leon Neal via Getty Images
Fire fighters gather near the building to tackle the blaze

He told HuffPost UK: “No fire alarms went off and there were no warning. I was playing PlayStation waiting to eat suhuur (beginning of fast meal) then smelt smoke. I got up and looked out of my window and saw the seventh floor smoking.

“I woke my auntie up, then got clothes on and started knocking on neighbours’ doors. Every house opened except two - I saw the other guy later on so only 1 family unaccounted for. My next door neighbour was fast asleep.

“The whole corridor went black with thick smoke. I didn’t think it was serious at all me and my auntie thought it was an isolated incident but we’d just evacuate just to be safe. When we went out and were taken by the firemen to a safer place then we saw that it still hadn’t reached our house - 20 minutes or so later our house was gone. The firefighters were very quick. They immediately started work.

“People were calm walking out but when they realised loved ones were missing or unaccounted then they started to panic. Once we were outside it started to spread more.”

The blaze started at around 1am in the early hours of Wednesday

He added: “I would be up this late on a Friday night possibly but never a random midweek night unless it was Ramadan.

“There are a lot of Muslims living there and people choose up to stay up and wait so it was certainly a factor for me and others. It probably did save lives.”

Muslims, and a number of other faith groups, got involved in helping those affected in the hours following the tragedy.

Donations of food, clothing and other essentials have also poured in as Londoners give a masterclass in generosity - read the full story here.

At least 12 people were killed in the huge blaze and many more were in hospital.

Twenty are being treated in critical care with police warning the number of dead is expected to rise as a “complex recovery operation” begins.

The blaze broke out in the 1974-built Grenfell Tower, home to hundreds of people, shortly after 1am, with local residents blaming newly installed cladding for the fast spread of the fire.

For all the latest updates follow our liveblog here.