Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

UK: Pressure on May as Grenfell Tower death toll rises


Sharing the footage, Commander Stuart Cundy, said: "It is really important that we are clear about the scale of the challenge facing us as our teams search Grenfell Tower to recover those people still inside and return them to their loved ones".

Members of the emergency services work inside burnt out remains of the Grenfell apartment tower in North Kensington, London, Britain, June 18, 2017.

Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, Trade Minister Greg Hands said Sunday that the government is carrying out an "urgent inspection" of the roughly 2,500 similar tower blocks across Britain to assess their safety, while an opposition lawmaker urged the government to quickly secure documents in the Grenfell renovation for the criminal investigation.

A fire department spokesman said crews are working to secure the debris so that two subway lines could be reopened as soon as possible.

"The terrible reality is, as I've said before, is that due to the intensity of the fire and the devastation within Grenfell Tower that we may not be able to identify everybody that died", he said.

"At No 10 yesterday, the Prime Minister assured the group that from now on residents would be consulted on a coordinated relief effort".

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'As London faith representatives, our united minds, hearts and prayers are with everyone in Grenfell Tower and with the families and friends of all those who are impacted.

Residents of the destroyed tower said May was far too slow to visit the stricken community, that the building had been unsafe and that officials have failed to give enough information and support to those who have lost relatives and their homes.

Cundy said a criminal investigation into the tower blaze would be exhaustive and that 250 investigators were looking at all criminal offences that may have been committed.

A solemn Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip held a minute of silence for the fire victims at the start of the procession Saturday.

"But my understanding is that the best expert advice is that retro-fitting sprinklers may not always be the best technical way of ensuring fire safety in a building".

"It's hard to describe the devastation the fire has caused", Cundy said, fighting back tears as he spoke.

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He said the death toll of 79 could still change if anyone reported as missing was found alive, or if anyone was found in the ruined tower who had not been reported as missing.

"People raised these concerns, people were expressing issues regarding the safety and risky living conditions", said Lancaster West Residents Association chairwoman Olesea Matcovschi.

Questions continue to be asked about why the fire spread so quickly, amid suggestions new cladding fitted during a recent overhaul could have been to blame.

May has promised a full public inquiry and announced a fund of £5 million ($6.4 million) to help those affected by the blaze.

Scuffles broke out near the Kensington and Chelsea town hall offices Friday as demonstrators chanting "We want justice!" surged toward the doors.

Londoners and others have also donated huge amounts of food, water and clothing, and shelter, to survivors.

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May on Saturday chaired a meeting on the government's response to the fire. More than 3 million pounds ($3.8 million) have been raised for the victims.

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