Death toll in London tower block fire rises to 80 police

George Tzokas
By George Tzokas
June 28, 2017World News
Death toll in London tower block fire rises to 80 police

The number of victims from the Grenfell Tower block fire in London last week has increased from 79 to 80, police said June 28.

The update comes right after Prime Minister Theresa May said the day before that 120 similar tower blocks have failed fire safety tests.

Police have spoken with at least one resident from 106 out of the 129 flats in the Grenfell Tower, but they are still struggling to get an accurate number of the victims, said Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack, who is in charge of the police investigation.

“Unfortunately, there’s 23 flats that we still cannot account for,” she said.

McCormack also said that due to the intense heat, it’s likely that many of the victims’ bodies will never be identified, and that a complete and accurate number of the people who died from the fire is still “many months” away.

Because the list of residents provided by the tower’s management was inaccurate, the New York Times reported that McCormack said that police have been using “every imaginable source”—from interviewing local businesses to scouring government records—to identify exactly who was in the building on the night of the fire.

The fire broke out in a fridge freezer and quickly spread throughout the building, hastened by the flammable exterior cladding that was added during renovations to the building in 2016.

May told Parliament that the cladding used on over 120 apartment buildings in London failed to pass basic fire safety tests following the Grenfell Tower fire.

May’s Conservative Party has drawn sharp criticism from opponents who believe that recent austerity measures that cut public spending are to blame for the poor state of fire safety enforcement in London.

“As we have seen from the number of buildings where the cladding has failed the combustibility test… this is a much wider issue,” May said, according to the New York Times.

“It’s an issue that has been continuing for many years, for decades, in terms of cladding being put up in buildings. There are real questions as to how this has happened, why it’s happened, and how we can ensure that it doesn’t happen in the future.”

Police are considering manslaughter charges for over 60 firms involved with the building renovations.

The investigation is expected to widen, according to police.

By John Perry for NTD

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