Faced with mounting criticism, British PM visits London fire victims

Saturday, 17 Jun, 2017

"From a personal perspective, I really hope it isn't", Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said responding to speculation reported in The Telegraph and other media outlets that the number of dead could exceed 100.

Experts said the intensity of Wednesday's fire at the 24-story building will make naming victims extremely hard, drawing comparisons to the 2001 World Trade Center terror attacks in NY, where 40 percent of the victims were never identified.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has sent an open letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May, demanding that she explain how she will support the community surrounding the site of an apartment building fire that killed at least 30 people.

He also said that there was no evidence that the fire was started deliberately.

"She wanted an entirely controlled situation in which she didn't use her humanity", former cabinet minister Michael Portillo told the BBC. We are aware that concerns have been raised historically by residents.

The management company acknowledged residents' concerns in a statement: "It is too early to speculate what caused the fire and contributed to its spread".

"We as the police, we investigate criminal offences - I am not sitting here and saying there are criminal offences that have been committed, that's why you do an investigation, to establish it", he said.

"People won't want to give up easily", she said, adding that officials would likely also encounter other obstacles, like trying to find people who weren't expected to be at the tower or differentiating between siblings where little DNA remains.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Cambridge visited the area Friday and met with residents and community representatives, CNN reported.

Grenfell Tower was home to around 600 people and whole families remain missing after the fire, which forced residents to flee through black smoke down the single stairwell, jump out of windows or even drop their children to safety.

Margaret de Micheli, who has lived on the estate for 40 years said: "I try not to think about it to be quite honest because it can be a bit frightening".

Friends and families of victims, including a furious seven-year-old, asked: "How many children died?"

Almost 110 families made homeless from the blaze are being housed at hotels in west London.

"And it became clear to me this morning that that was necessary because when I visited the scene and I spoke to the emergency services they told me that this fire, the way this fire progressed how it took hold of this building was rapid, it was ferocious and it was unexpected".

The first victims have been named as Syrian refugee Mohammed Al Haj Ali, 23, and artist Khadija Saye, 24.

The fire, which started just before 1:00am on Wednesday, surprised many as they slept and the speed with which it spread shocked fire experts.

"The Prime Minister would have been shouted at by the residents, but she should have been willing to take that".

"This is the richest borough in the United Kingdom but we have a building where some of the poorest people live", he said in an interview. Emergency responders were dispatched to the 24-story building to battle the blaze.

The local Grenfell Action Group had claimed, before and during a major 10-million-pound refurbishment of Grenfell Tower previous year, that the block constituted a fire risk and residents had warned that access to the site for emergency vehicles was "severely restricted".

He said that he and a parliamentary group that he chairs have been pushing for better safety regulations since the 2009 fire.