Saturday, 19 August, 2017

79 people presumed dead in London tower block fire

UK Chancellor Cladding on Grenfell Tower'banned on high-rises Leon Neal Getty Images
Melinda Barton | 20 June, 2017, 03:14

However, five people who were originally reported as missing have since been found safe and well.

Commander Cundy added: "The terrible reality - as I've said before - is that due to the intensity of the fire and the devastation within Grenfell Tower, that we may not be able to identify everybody that died".

The number of those missing and feared dead has risen from 58, with police to deliver an update later today.

London police said 79 people were dead or missing presumed dead after a devastating tower block blaze last week.

He told reporters the "awful reality" was that it might not be possible to identify all the victims.

Police have also released images from inside the building to show the extent of the damage.

Britain held a moment of silence for the victims on Monday, with emergency service workers bowing their heads in respect.

"Whilst our teams have been from the bottom to the top of the tower, we must now carry out a full forensic and systematic search", said Commander Stuart Cundy. Composing himself, he said "It's fair to say it is incredibly emotional working in there".

Prime Minister Theresa May, already facing severe political problems trying to form a government after losing her majority in Parliament, was heckled when she visited the site on Thursday and criticized for taking too long to meet with survivors, the AP reported.

Trade Minister Greg Hands said Sunday the government is carrying out an "urgent inspection" of the roughly 2,500 similar tower blocks across Britain to assess their safety, while an opposition lawmaker urged the government to quickly secure any documents related to the Grenfell renovation for a criminal investigation. "It will also be a subject that the criminal investigation will be looking at".

As anger continued in the wake of the disaster, described by London Mayor Sadiq Khan as a "preventable accident", the Government announced on Sunday that those left homeless will be given at least £5,500 from an emergency fund.

Commander Cundy added authorities were investigating whether any crimes had been committed as part of the incident.

"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.

"It's hard to describe my feelings, because I can not imagine, and I would not want to put myself in the position of those families who have lost their loved ones".

"But we will do it with our utmost professionalism and we will do everything we can as quickly as we can to locate everybody who is in there".