Saturday, June 17, 2017

58 People Presumed Dead After Grenfell Tower Disaster

Met Police Commander Stuart Cundy updates the media near Grenfell Tower (Victoria Jones/PA)
Fifty-eight people are missing and presumed dead in the Grenfell Tower disaster, the officer in charge of the investigation has said.
London Fire Brigade's canine units were sent into the building along with the MET's urban search and rescue dogs. The dogs are helping to look for the more than 70 people who remain missing after the inferno. Police have confirmed that 30 people are dead after the west London tower block caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The blaze, thought to have been started by a faulty fridge, quickly engulfed the building (right), which housed some 600 people. Firefighters have said they believe no one on the top floors of the building survived. Kitted out in hi-vis harnesses and buster boots, the dogs (inset) will painstakingly cover the upper floors of the tower (left).

Press Association report continues:
Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy warned that the death toll could rise further as he formally identified a first victim as 23-year-old Mohammed 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”.

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