PM May admits failures as inferno toll reaches 58

Henrietta Strickland
June 19, 2017

The public is also demanding answers about how the blaze spread so quickly amid reports that the recently-renovated building's exterior paneling fueled the flames. British media have reported that contractors installed a cheaper, less flame-resistant type of exterior paneling on the 24-story tower in a renovation that was completed just previous year. The presumed dead includes 30 people authorities previously confirmed perished in the Wednesday morning blaze at the public housing complex.

Cundy said 16 bodies had so far been recovered from the tower and taken to a mortuary.

"Whilst I sincerely hope that our work over the coming days means that we (will be) able to say that less people are confirmed as having died, I also have to consider the sad reality that this may rise", Metropolitan Police Cmdr. "Again, I would urge them if that is you, I don't care the reason, please, please contact us".

Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy speaking to the media near Grenfell Tower.

The first secretary of State in her Cabinet, the equivalent of deputy PM, Damien Green came to her defence.

Cundy said there may have been other people in the tower who police are not aware of, and that could increase the death toll.

King also said that there are around 4,000 tower blocks in the United Kingdom without automatic fire sprinkler protection systems in place. The group left after a meeting that lasted more than two hours but did not speak to reporters gathered outside.

He said the community in north Kensington, west London, was "frustrated and, yes, angry". Those who lost their homes will be rehoused within three weeks, she said.

She said earlier that the national mood is sombre but that Britain is resolute in the face of adversity. "This is an absolutely bad fire that took place", May said. Officials are using dental records, fingerprints and DNA samples to try to positively identify the victims.

A solemn Queen Elizabeth II marked a minute of silence for victims of the London high-rise inferno at the start of a procession Saturday to mark her official birthday.

"It is hard to escape a very somber national mood", Elizabeth said in a message on her official birthday.

Hundreds have been left homeless by the blaze, putting more pressure on officials in a city already plagued by a chronic housing shortage.

Scuffles broke out near the Kensington and Chelsea town hall offices Friday as demonstrators chanting "We want justice!" surged toward the doors.

As NPR's Merrit Kennedy reported, the Grenfell Tower fire has aroused the ire of those who feel it was caused by corporate malfeasance and who feel Prime Minister Theresa May's government is not doing enough to respond.

Survivors of the building claim that cheap materials for the cladding and a lack of maintenance on the building were to blame for the fatal fire. But in an interview about the fire, May ducked the questions.

The tragedy has provoked a huge response from nearby communities.

Queen Elizabeth and her grandson Prince William visited a community center Friday where some survivors are being housed, with volunteers inundated with donations of clothes and food.

"When the truth comes out about this tragedy, we may find that there is blood on the hands of a number of organizations", Lammy said.

Two neighbouring Tube lines are to be partly suspended into a second day amid safety concerns of debris falling on to the tracks.

Reports suggest that a renovation project on Grenfell Tower a year ago intentionally did not include safety devices such as sprinklers and doors created to keep the fire from spreading.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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