London High-Rise Fire: UK opens criminal probe, death toll 30

Cheryl Sanders
June 19, 2017

Another large group of protesters stormed the town hall of Kensington and Chelsea, the borough in which Grenfell Tower is located.

"From a personal perspective, I really hope it isn't", Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said responding to speculation reported in The Telegraph and other media outlets that the number of dead could exceed 100.

Demonstrators pushed their way through an automatic door shouting 'We want justice!' and 'Killers!' as they clashed with security guards in the lobby.

The area surrounding the council-owned tower has been plastered by desperate relatives with pictures of missing people, from grandparents to young children, and large numbers of volunteers assisting the survivors.

The construction firm behind the partial refurbishment at Grenfell Tower a year ago has said all required building regulations, as well as fire regulation and health and safety standards had been met.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a judge- led full public inquiry into the incident and is expected to pay a visit to the injured in one of the London hospitals after she faced criticism over her failure to meet the victims during a visit to the site yesterday.

While the disaster has prompted an outpouring of generosity, there was also anger at politicians as the charred tower was cast as a deadly symbol of a divided society.

There has been growing fury on the low-rent estate where residents wanted answers on why the fire was able to spread so rapidly and why complaints about safety had been ignored.

She also noted that an emergency fund of more than $6 million has begun to be "distributed on the ground so people can buy clothes, food and other essentials". "We need to find out precisely what cladding was used and how it was attached".

And sorrow is quickly turning to anger over whether the building met fire and safety regulations. While members of her party have suggested security issues contributed to her lack of engagement with the public, residents seemed unwilling to accept the explanation.

Residents who escaped the Grenfell Tower fire spoke of the cladding going "up like a matchstick".

"It is criminal to wrap homes in flammable plastic", read another sign after it emerged that cladding installed on the exterior walls of the tower as part of refurbishment was officially graded as not fire-resistant.

However, the death toll is expected to increase as chances are bleak that any survivors will be found alive. London police expect the toll to rise but it could take months to search the building and identify the victims. Some said they had never seen a building fire advance so quickly.

It was fitted by a company called Harley Facades, which has put out a statement following Wednesday's blaze saying: "We are not aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding of the tower".

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.

Cundy said one of the victims was a person who died in hospital.

Other reports by iNewsToday