Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Presumed Death Toll Nearly Doubles After London Fire


Her message came as firefighters continue their search at the site of the fire in north Kensington, where a 24-storey residential block was burnt to the core within minutes early on Wednesday. Grief over a high-rise tower blaze that killed dozens of p.

The fire forced residents to flee through black smoke down the single stairwell, jump out of windows or even drop their children from the 120-apartment building.

Hands cautioned Sunday that investigators still don't know exactly what cladding was used when the building renovation was completed a year ago.

The fire has also been transformed into a symbol of class inequality - the Grenfell Tower's charred remains stand high above one of the British capital's wealthiest neighborhoods.

Thirty people have been confirmed as dead following the devastating blaze - but dozens are thought to have died, with fears the figure could reach more than 100 people.

Fifty-eight people who were in London's Grenfell Tower are still missing and are presumed to be dead, United Kingdom police announced on Saturday, raising the death toll in an inferno earlier this week that turned the public housing block into a charred ruin.

Experts say the cladding and the insulation it contained seems to have spread the flames quickly along the exterior of the building, overwhelming safety devices like fire doors.

"There are 58 people who we have been told were in Grenfell Tower on the night that are missing and therefore, sadly, I have to assume that they are dead", police commander Stuart Cundy told reporters at the scene.

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"I was in there myself and went all the way to the top floor and it is incredibly hard", he said, before pausing as tears welled up in his eyes.

But the visits, which took place more than 48 hours after the fire broke out, have done little to quell the growing anger over the way Mrs May has dealt with the tragedy.

One opposition lawmaker urged the Conservative government and police to immediately seize all documents related to the tower renovation.

"The work to search the building is challenging, but naturally could never be done quickly enough for those now having to live with the uncertainty of knowing where their loved ones are".

"When the truth comes out about this tragedy, we may find that there is blood on the hands of a number of organizations", Lammy said.

Following the meeting, Mrs May released a strongly-worded statement in which she said on-the-ground support for families in the immediate aftermath of the blaze "was not good enough".

Mr Evans told the committee that if external cladding failed to resist flames from a fire inside the building it could rapidly spread upwards to engulf the entire structure.

Some 19 people remain in four London hospitals, 10 of who are in critical conditions.

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Sixteen "very ordinary people" sat in Downing Street to bring their concerns to Theresa May in an "unprecedented" meeting and finally felt they were listened to, the Bishop of Kensington, Dr Graham Tomlin said.

Officials are using dental records, fingerprints and DNA samples to try and positively identify victims.

Earlier on Saturday, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip observed a moment of silence to honor the victims.

The 91-year-old monarch said it is "difficult to escape a very somber mood" on what is normally a day of celebration.

In an interview on Friday, she sidestepped questions on whether she had misread the public mood.

"It was a death trap, and they knew it", one person shouted as demonstrators surged inside the offices of the Kensington and Chelsea council, responsible for managing the social housing block in a working-class enclave of one of Britain's richest districts. British officials have ordered a review of other buildings that have had similar renovations.

The tragedy has provoked a big response from nearby communities that have donated food and shelter to the victim. 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. Churches and community centers are providing meals and support, and donations of clothing, toys and household supplies are flooding in.

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