Fire in United Kingdom on June 14 2017 06:02 AM (UTC).
Fifty-eight people are missing and presumed dead in the Grenfell Tower disaster, the officer in charge of the investigation has said. Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy warned that the death toll could rise further as he formally identified a first victim as 23-year-old Mohammad Alhajali. Earlier on Saturday Prime Minister Theresa May met victims of the blaze at Downing Street, amid criticism she had not seen them in the immediate wake of the tragedy. Mr Cundy said: "Sadly, at this time there are 58 people who we have been told were in the Grenfell Tower on the night that are missing, and therefore sadly, I have to assume that they are dead." He added: "That number 58 may change. I really hope it won't, but it may increase. Our focus has been on those that we know were in Grenfell Tower. However, there may be other people who were in there on the night that others were not aware were there. "That is also an absolute priority for the investigation - to establish who they may be." Mr Cundy also appealed to anyone who may have escaped from the building, but has not yet come forward, to make themselves known. Of the 58, he said 30 were confirmed dead. 16 bodies have been recovered from the Tower and taken to a mortuary. Mr Cundy said the police investigation into the blaze would look at the building and its refurbishment in 2016 and vowed to prosecute people "if there is evidence". He said: "The investigation is a police investigation. We investigate criminal matters. The investigation will identify any criminal offence that has been committed. It will be wide ranging. "It will go to establish the answers of what happened in the fire and how it spread, it will look at the building itself, it will look at the refurbishment as well. "Our criminal investigation will identify any criminal offences that have been committed. Wherever we can, we will bring people to justice if there is evidence. It is completely and wholly inappropriate for me to talk about details of the investigation which may subsequently jeopardise any criminal proceedings." Victims made clear their demands to the Prime Minister in a two and a half hour meeting in Number 10. A man representing the group, who did not give his name, told reporters they would make a full statement "in the community ". He said the group had spoken about their "demands and what we expect".
The death toll in the London high-rise fire has risen to 30 people as dozens of others remain missing, British police confirmed on Friday. Firefighters continued to search the smoldering ruins after fire ripped through the building early Wednesday morning. The death toll is still expected to rise substantially. Some have speculated that the number of dead could exceed 100. "From a personal perspective, I really hope it isn't," Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy responded to the speculation. Twenty-four people are being treated in the hospital, including 12 in critical care. An investigation was launched on Thursday to determine the cause of the fire, though there is no indication it was started deliberately at this time, authorities said.
At least 17 people have died from the fire that engulfed a 24-story apartment building in London, police say, and the figure could rise further. Fire and rescue crews worked at Grenfell Tower throughout a second night, searching for victims in a building that is still smoldering. "Our absolute priority for all of us is identifying and locating those that are missing," Cmdr. Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police Service said in an update Thursday. "My heart goes out to those that are trying to find loved ones, please get in contact and we will support you through this." The fire reportedly trapped many residents in the building - dozens are still missing. The blaze created a panic, with residents scrambling to get out before being overcome by smoke and flames. Several witnesses have recounted seeing desperate parents tossing children from the building's windows in an effort to save them. Up to 600 people may have been inside the building's 120 apartments when the blaze started and apparently spread rapidly from a lower floor to the top of the tower. The London Fire Brigade says its crews were able to rescue 65 people from the building. "London's fire commissioner says it would be a miracle if anyone is still alive inside," Larry Miller reports for NPR from London. "For the hundreds who did get out safely, food clothing, personal items like toothbrushes, cash and offers of accommodation are continuing to flood in." The tragedy has prompted a review of conditions and safety precautions at other large buildings in England, Miller reports. The tragedy also led Prime Minister Theresa May to promise a full investigation. Much of the fire seemed to burn on its exterior, prompting questions about cladding that was installed during a renovation in 2015. "High-rise buildings in France, the UAE and Australia that had similar cladding have all been hit by fires that spread," the BBC reports. The news outlet says that the Grenfell building is believed to have received cladding that has a plastic core rather than a more fireproof mineral core. The company that performed the renovation tells the BBC that it followed all fire regulations. "At its height, pretty much the entire building appeared to be ablaze, with huge flames of several hundred feet running up the side of the tower," Alex Ritson reports from London for NPR. "Forty fire engines and around 200 firefighters went to the scene - but their equipment didn't reach much beyond the 11th floor." "There are already disturbing reports emerging of the pipework in the building for a fire emergency being out of action," Ritson says. "Also, the fire escape plan for the building told residents to stay in their apartments behind supposedly fire safe doors. Those who escaped the blaze were the ones who both woke up and ignored that advice." A resident who ignored that advice is Mickey Paramasivan, who got his children out of Grenfell after waking up and smelling smoke. "Only one fire escape to get down, and apparently that caught on fire," Paramasivan told Ritson. "And the fire alarm that was going off, that wouldn't have woken no one up. It was as silent as it could be. ... Someone's got to be held responsible for this. It's ridiculous." The cause of the fire isn't yet known, but residents say they've known for years that the Grenfell building was a fire hazard. A local community organization called the Grenfell Action Group said on its website Wednesday that its warnings had been ignored for years.
The death toll of a deadly overnight fire that engulfed a 24-story London apartment tower Wednesday has risen to 12, local police said. That number is expected to continue to rise. Steve Apter of the London Fire Brigade said pockets of fire were still blazing at west London's Grenfell Tower, a high-rise apartment block, more than 16 hours after first reports of fire early Wednesday. He said crews have rescued 65 people from the building, and that firefighters have searched most of the tower and reached the top floor. Officials declined to say how many people were missing. The inferno lit up the night sky and spewed black smoke from the windows of the Grenfell Tower in North Kensington. A plume of smoke stretched for miles across the sky after dawn, revealing the blackened, flame-licked wreckage of the building, which was still burning over 12 hours later. Between 400 and 600 people are said to live in the building, which houses 120 apartments and was still burning some 14 hours after the blaze broke out in the early hours of Wednesday. More than 200 firefighters battled the inferno, which officials called an "unprecedented incident." Witnesses reported seeing residents throwing babies and small children from high windows to people on the sidewalk in a desperate effort to save them from the flames. One witness, who identified herself as Sofia, told The Guardian: "I heard loads of young girls crying out for help...I can hear people screaming for help and they are dying." Jody Martin told the BBC she watched desperate residents of the building trying to escape the blaze. "I watched one person falling out, I watched another woman holding her baby out the window," she said. "I was yelling at everyone to get down and they were saying, 'We can't leave our apartments, the smoke is too bad on the corridors.'" Fire Brigades Union spokesperson Matt Wrack said something had apparently gone wrong with the building's fire prevention measures. Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton told reporters: "In my 29 years of being a firefighter I have never, ever seen anything of this scale." Paul Munakr, who lives on the seventh floor, managed to escape. He said he was alerted to the fire by people screaming "don't jump, don't jump." "The Prime Minister is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the Grenfell Tower and is being kept constantly updated on the situation," a spokesperson for PM Theresa May said. There was no immediate word on the cause of the blaze, but angry residents said they had warned local authorities about fire issues at Grenfell Tower. The subsidized housing block of 120 apartments was built in 1974 and was recently upgraded at a cost of 8.6 million pounds ($11 million), with work finishing in May 2016, according to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.Police commander Stuart Cundy gave the death toll of six but added the figure was likely to rise "during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days." Paul Woodrow, head of operations for the London Ambulance Service, said 20 of the injured were in critical condition. The London Fire Brigade received the first reports of the fire at 12:54 a.m. and the first engines arrived within six minutes, Cotton said. A spokesman at the organization that manages apartment block declined to comment on prior complaints about fire safety at the building. Pete Griffiths, a spokesman for the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization, told The Associated Press: "I can't comment. We're getting hundreds of requests for comments." The Grenfell Action Group, a community organization formed to oppose a nearby redevelopment project, has been warning about the risk of fire at Grenfell Tower since 2013. The group has raised concerns about testing and maintenance of firefighting equipment and blocked emergency access to the site. "All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time," the group said after the fire broke out.
Firefighters in London responded early Wednesday to an "unprecedented incident" when a 24-floor residential apartment building became engulfed by flames, sending at least 30 to area hospitals and likely trapping residents inside.
London's police force confirmed at least six dead. Authorities said they expect a number of fatalities and the BBC reported that a "significant" number of people were unaccounted for. The building is the Grenfell Tower in the North Kensington area. The cause of the fire is not known. A structural engineer is monitoring stability of building. One side of the building appeared to be in flames, and 45 fire engines and 200 firefighters were called to the scene. The London Fire Brigade tweeted that the fire involved the second to the top floor of the 27-story building.
London's fire commissioner says there have been a number of fatalities in a high-rise fire in west London. Commissioner Dany Cotton calls the fire an "unprecedented incident" and says she has never seen anything on this scale in her 29-year career. She says firefighters are still working and she can't say how many people may have died. At least 30 people have been taken to hospitals. Fire raced through the 24-floor Grenfell Tower in North Kensington around 1 a.m. Police have turned a church near the scene of a massive west London high-rise fire into a makeshift center for evacuees. A woman showed up in tears looking for her sister, who lived in the 24-story building that caught fire. Officials did not have any information to give her. They say 30 people have been taken to hospitals but it's not clear if people are still trapped. Many people at St. Clement's church are in wheelchairs and have been brought from adjacent buildings that were evacuated by firefighters because of fears the fire might spread. Hugo Zarey, who lives in one of the other buildings, says he could hear the commotion outside when police pounded on his door and ordered him to leave. He says it was frightening but people are being cared for well.