Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

London fire death toll at 17; 'miracle' if anymore survivors


The prime minister said the inquiry, an official review of action by public institutions, was needed to ensure "this awful tragedy is properly investigated". Residents say their fears about fire safety had been ignored for years.

The London Fire Brigade said it received the first reports of the blaze at 12.54am and the first engines arrived within six minutes.

As the heavy black smoke from the fire cleared Thursday, the huge burned-out hulk of Grenfell loomed over London's working-class, multi-ethnic North Kensington neighborhood. In the final conversation, Trevisan said: "The flames are in the living room. There are flames around us'". Gottardi told his father in separate calls that suffocating smoke in the stairs kept them inside their apartment and awaiting rescue.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who visited the tower on Thursday after the prime minister, said "some very hard questions must be answered" about how the fire took hold.

May faced further delays in forming her new government after a failed election gamble when her would-be allies said their agreement would be put back following the blaze.

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The death toll in a fire disaster that destroyed a 24-storey block of flats in London is expected to continue to rise, with many people still missing and firefighters facing hazardous conditions as they search the building. Ms Cotton said that specialist dogs would be brought into search the building. Buckingham Palace issued a statement on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, who praised the efforts of the fire crews and said her "thoughts and prayers" are with the families of the victims.

More than 200 firefighters worked through the night.

Entire families are missing, and the death toll is certain to rise. Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton told Sky would be a miracle if anyone were to be found alive. "We like to think of ourselves as "roughty, toughty" and heroes - they are heroes - but they have feelings, and people were absolutely devastated by yesterday's events". Adi Estu (32) who lives nearby and took refuge in a church with her husband and nine-month-old son, said: "I saw people flashing their lights for help, families flashing their mobile phones like a torch".

She said early Thursday that authorities have finally extinguished the last pockets of flame, and are trying to secure edges of the building for a fingertip search.

Community centers in London have been overwhelmed by the number of donations flooding in for those left homeless by a high-rise apartment building fire.

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So much food, clothing, shoes and other items have been coming in that the centers, churches and mosques have had to start turning away new donations. Many people remained unaccounted for Thursday, and officials weren't sure exactly how many were missing.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said fire fighters had only able to reach the 12th floor at the height of the blaze.

Adele is showing her support for everyone affected by the deadly fire at London's Grenfell Tower.

Construction firm Rydon, which carried out the refurbishment, said on its website, "Rydon completed a refurbishment of the building in the summer of 2016 for KCTMO (Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation) on behalf of the Council, which met all required building control, fire regulation and health & safety standards". Volunteers and charities helped feed and shelter people who could not return to their homes overnight.

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