London fire: Death toll climbs to 79

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 20, 2017

British Police and Fire Minister Nick Hurd said on Thursday (June 15) the government would leave no stone unturned in public inquiry on Grenfell Tower fire in London, responding to questions from members of parliament during the debate about tragedy that left at least 17 people dead.

Emergency service workers bowed their heads in respect to the victims of the catastrophic blaze.

One focus is the exterior cladding used in the renovation: Senior ministers of the British government say it appears to have been banned under United Kingdom building codes. The cause of the massive blaze is still under investigation, but anger has mounted in the community amid reports that the rain-screen cladding on the exterior of Grenfell Tower may have spread the flames.

Five of the victims have been formally identified so far, Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said, the Telegraph reported.

Previously, the Metropolitan Police had confirmed 30 people had been killed in the inferno; the announcement Saturday almost doubles that number.

Cundy said efforts to trace missing people had led him to believe that the number could be higher.

Although police did not speculate on the eventual number of fatalities, local community sources say at least 70 from Grenfell Tower are still missing, including entire families.

(AP Photo/Tim Ireland). People demonstrate demanding answers over the Grenfell Tower fire, in London, Friday June 16, 2017.

Cundy said he would be "looking at all criminal offenses that might have been committed by any individual or any organization".

The cause of Wednesday's blaze is still under investigation, but anger has mounted in the community amid reports that exterior panelling used in an extensive renovation completed previous year may have been banned by United Kingdom rules. 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.

Grief is turning to outrage in the wake of London's deadly Grenfell Tower apartment block fire, with British Prime Minister Theresa May confronted by protesters and a crowd of angry locals storming the local town hall.

She said: "Frankly, the support on the ground for families who needed help or basic information in the initial hours after this appalling disaster was not good enough".

"Whilst I've said I think there may be changes, I don't think those changes will be as significant as the changes we've seen over the last few days", he said.

In addition, British health authorities will provide long-term bereavement counseling for those who lost loved ones in the tragedy.

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