It was still dark when I arrived at west London’s Grenfell Tower in the early hours, huge flames still ripping into the night sky.
I live less than half a mile from the scene, woken by the intense noise of police helicopters flying over the area.
For those closer to the seat of the fire, they’d been up since just after 1am.
It wasn’t just the sound of the helicopters that woke them though. Their neighbourhoods were filled with the sound of many sirens, as emergency services reinforcements arrived here from all over the capital.
For those even closer to the tower block, the noises that woke them were much more harrowing – screams and shouts for help from many people trapped in their homes as the flames shot up the sides of the building.
Paul lived on the 7th floor of the Grenfell Tower. He told me he was woken by those screams.
Instinct told him not to follow the official advice to stay in his flat.
Instead, he threw on his clothes and tried to escape down the stairwell.
Already, the stairs were smoke-logged, with groups of firefighters, wearing breathing apparatus, running to the higher floors.
Paul told me he asked the firefighters if they wanted him to knock on doors to alert other neighbours.
Understandably, they told him to get out of the block as quickly as possible, before he was overcome by the smoke.
Paul Littlejohn was in a flat overlooking the high rise. He too was woken by the sound of screams.
Emergency crews told him to get out of his building, over fears the tower block could collapse.
Clearly still traumatised when he spoke to me, he said the sight that greeted him was unimaginable.
There were individuals and families, young children, all at their windows.
Some were waving rags, others flashing lights on their mobile phones, many just screaming for help.
Paul said he saw one man who was on fire, who jumped from the building. He heard later that the man had died.
Another man jumped from a nearby window shortly after. He survived with a broken leg.
It’s difficult to overstate the trauma these neighbours endured.
Emma, who also lives in a nearby building, said she saw several people jump. It was, she said, a choice between jumping and suffering multiple broken bones, or staying and perishing in the blaze.
But amid all the trauma I witnessed, there were repeated displays of incredible compassion, of generosity and kindness.
Local community and sports centres opened their doors. Many hundreds of people turned up to offer food, drinks, blankets, clothing and comfort.
It was a humbling display of the best of humanity in the most horrific of circumstances.