Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Culture | By Julio Duncan

London Fire: Likely Grenfell Tower Death Toll Rises to 79

London Fire: Likely Grenfell Tower Death Toll Rises to 79

At least 79 people are dead or missing and presumed dead following the fire that tore through the 24-story Grenfell Tower in London, police have said.

Cundy said a criminal investigation began the day of the fire and will look at a "wide range" of issues, including the renovation project, the public housing block's management and maintenance, and fire-safety measures.

Families who have lost their homes must be supported, grieving people must be helped and it must not be "so hard" for those who need help to find it, he said.

"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.

Cundy said the search and recovery operation was ongoing in the burnt-out 24-storey tower.

Two British officials said Sunday that new exterior cladding used in a renovation of Grenfell Tower may have been banned under United Kingdom building regulations.

Experts believe the exterior cladding, which contained insulation, helped spread the flames quickly along the outside of the tower in the Wednesday morning blaze that has killed at least 58 people.

Labour Party lawmaker David Lammy said that the government and the police should immediately seize all documents relating to the building's renovation to prevent the destruction of evidence that could show criminal wrongdoing. We know that there are still bodies of those who died inside the building and we want to return those people to their families as soon as we possibly can.

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

John Cowley, managing director of CEP Architectural Facades, which produced rain-screen panels and windows for the building's cladding sub-contractor Harley Facades Ltd, said: "Reynobond PE is not banned in the UK". The job's contractor has said the work met all fire standards.

May has announced a public inquiry into the fire which would be fast-tracked and said on Sunday that every household affected by the blaze would receive a minimum payment of STG5,500 ($A9,214) from a STG5 million emergency fund.

"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".

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.

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