May meets Grenfell fire victims and volunteers in Downing Street

Solenn Plantier
Juin 19, 2017

"I really hope it won't, but it may increase", he said.

May has come in for a barrage of criticism over her response to the disaster, including being jeered when she visited the North Kensington estate on Friday.

As the group of Grenfell residents and volunteers passed through the gates of Downing Street, protesters shouted angry chants about the Prime Minister and wore white ribbons as a sign of solidarity.

Dozens of police officers had to hold back angry crowds and break up scuffles as her auto drove off afterwards. More than 3 million pounds ($3.8 million) has been raised for the victims, and the British government has announced a 5 million-pound ($6.3 million) emergency fund.

Queen Elizabeth II and her grandson Prince William visited a community centre where some of the survivors are being housed.

The government has promised a full public inquiry, but that has done little to ease a sense of frustration at the lack of information about how the fire moved so quickly to engulf the building. "Something's gone drastically wrong", Communities and Local Government Minister Sajid Javid told BBC radio. British officials have ordered a review of other buildings that have had similar renovations.

"We've worked tirelessly to confirm the number of people who we believe were in the tower on the night and, at this time we can not assume they are safe and well", he said. "It does not matter why you have not told us, what is important is that we know you are safe".

"We always knew that the death toll would rise", Cundy said, adding that there was nothing to suggest that the fire at Grenfell Tower was started deliberately.

They demanded justice for the victims and claimed Wednesday's fatal blaze was due to negligence, with many citing the new cladding put on the 1974 concrete tower.

He said all records - including emails, minutes of meetings, correspondence with contractors, safety assessments, specifications and reports - must be kept intact.

Cundy said one of the victims was a person who died in hospital. Twenty-four injured survivors are still being treated, 12 of them in critical care.

The fire forced residents to flee through black smoke down the single stairwell, jump out of windows or even drop their children from the building.

One of the victims was named as Mohammed Alhajali, a 23-year-old Syrian refugee, who came to Britain in 2014 with his brother. "He gave love to everyone", his family said in a statement. Hands cautioned that officials don't yet have exact details about the renovation that ended just past year.

There are questions about why the block was not fitted with sprinklers or a central smoke alarm, as well as whether the recent refurbishment - including the use of cladding that was blamed for worsening previous building fires in France, the United Arab Emirates and Australia - helped fuel the flames.

It was reported that the material used in the cladding covering Grenfell was Reynobond PE - a cheaper, more flammable version of two available options.

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