58 people feared dead in London tower fire: UK police

Solenn Plantier
Juin 20, 2017

The new exterior cladding used in a renovation on London's Grenfell Tower may have been banned under United Kingdom building regulations, two British ministers said Sunday as police continued their criminal investigation into the inferno that killed at least 58 people.

Opposition politicians also say the government ignored recommendations from a 2013 review after another London fire killed six people.

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

Some said they had never seen a building fire advance so quickly.

"At No. 10 (Downing Street) yesterday, the prime minister assured the group that from now on residents would be consulted on a coordinated relief effort".

The meeting is unlikely to quell complaints that May has been slow to reach out to fire survivors, despite her announcement of a $6.4 million emergency fund to help the displaced families. "I am getting out to safety", said Jennifer Lopez, who works in a high-rise building a short walk from the World Trade Center in New York City.

"We're all desperately sad, we're all angry, but of course none of us as angry as those who were directly affected".

"If I were in a different, less modern building with less obvious fire safety, I'm not sure how I would feel, honestly", he said. May was jeered after she made a visit to the community Friday. "To God we belong and to him we return", Alhajali's family said in a statement released by police. Demonstrators gathered outside, protesting about several issues including the fire.

One banner showed a drawing of May with the words "Shame" and "Disgrace".

By the blackened Grenfell Tower, firefighters took off their helmets and stood still to observe the minute's silence, some with their arms around each other's shoulders.

The queen said it was "difficult to escape a very somber mood" on what is normally a day of celebration. "The country has witnessed a succession of awful tragedies".

Queen Elizabeth II said the disaster had cast a sombre pall over Britain, but insisted the country was showing resolve in the face of adversity.

"It is human nature for most of us - if we know there's a fire, start moving and get out", said Robert Solomon of the National Fire Protection Association, a USA -based organization that studies fire safety globally.

Her failure to win a majority in an election she did not need to call had already sparked a tumultuous week and pitched Britain into its deepest political crisis since the Brexit referendum a year ago.

After further correspondence, then government minister Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams, replied: "I have neither seen nor heard anything that would suggest that consideration of these specific potential changes is urgent and I am not willing to disrupt the work of this department by asking that these matters are brought forward".

The fire has come at a particularly hard time for Prime Minister Theresa May, who was weakened by the loss of her parliamentary majority in a June 8 election and faces arduous talks on Britain's exit from the European Union.

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