London tower block fire death toll reaches 79

Andrew Cummings
June 20, 2017

Seventy-nine people are dead or missing and presumed dead following a devastating blaze in a London high-rise building last week, police said on Monday, as Britain held a minute's silence for the victims.

"Khan went on to call Wednesday's massive Grenfell Tower fire "a preventable accident that didn't need to happen" - and said the tragedy was "a effect of the mistakes and neglect from politicians from the council and from the government".

A senior United Kingdom government minister said Sunday that he believed the cladding is banned in Britain for buildings above a certain height.

Nick Paget-Brown, the Tory leader of Kensington and Chelsea council, said there were officials on the ground "very soon" after the fire broke out to help residents, but he sidestepped questions over whether he feels guilty about what happened.


"Sadly at this time there are 58 people who we were told were in Grenfell Tower on the night, who were missing, who I have to assume are dead".

The tower's flammable cladding is widely believed to be the main reason for the rapid spread of the blaze.

The presumed death toll from the London tower block inferno jumped to 58 on Saturday as embattled Prime Minister Theresa May, accused of misreading the national mood over the tragedy, met survivors desperately seeking answers. A spokesman for Britain's Home Office said Saturday it was helping his family travel to the country from Syria, but did not provide further details.

Commander Stuart Cundy said the number "may increase" and the recovery operation is likely to take weeks.


The Metropolitan Police has launched "wide ranging" investigation, looking at the construction of the building, the recent refurbishment, how it was managed and maintained, and fire safety measures.

Conditions in the staircase were so cramped, fire crews were told they could stay outside to help or go into the burning building without their full breathing apparatus and just their eye gear.

May has announced a fast-tracked public inquiry into the fire and said on Sunday that every household affected by the blaze would receive a minimum payment of £5,500 ($7,000) from a £5m emergency fund.

Sadiq Khan spent more than two hours at St Clement's Church in west London on Sunday, as a service remembered victims of the disaster. She also said she will receive daily reports from the stricken neighborhood.


British health authorities will also provide long-term bereavement counselling for those who lost loved ones in the tragedy.

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