Believed to Have Died in London High-Rise Fire

Claudine Rigal
Juin 20, 2017

Days after a blaze tore through Grenfell Tower in London, the death toll continues to rise: City police announced Saturday that 58 people "are missing and we assumed likely to have died".

Members of the emergency services work inside burnt out remains of the Grenfell apartment tower in North Kensington, London, Britain, June 18, 2017.

Later on Sunday, former United Kingdom chancellor Philip Hammond said the cladding material used on the building was banned on British high-rises.

Experts believe the exterior cladding, which contained insulation, helped spread the flames quickly along the outside of the tower in the June 14 blaze.

"We are supporting the families and the loved ones of each of those 79", Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Candy said in a statement. It's an increase from the previous number of 58.

"The awful reality of the fire that night means that we are supporting some people who may have lost a number of members of their family on that night", Cundy said. British health authorities say that 19 fire survivors are still being treated at London hospitals, and 10 of them remain in critical condition.

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 documents in the Grenfell renovation for the criminal investigation.

He added that teams and families of missing loved ones must prepare for "the bad reality" that some of those who died in the fire may never be identified due to the intensity of the fire.

In a report, BBC said the number could be around 70 people in total.

More than 200 firefighters and 40 fire trucks were involved in operations to douse the blaze, which last for several hours.

The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said the Grenfell Tower disaster was a effect of years of neglect by politicians.

Mr Khan said the images of the 24-storey building being ravaged by fire "should be forever seared into our nation's collective memory".

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.

The group said: "In our meeting at Downing Street, we explained to the Prime Minister the anger of all residents towards the management of the estate over a long period of time, paving the way to this tragedy".

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