London Fire: UK government rushes staff for rehabilitation of victims

Virginia Carter
June 19, 2017

The new exterior cladding used in a renovation on London's Grenfell Tower may have been banned under United Kingdom building regulations, two British ministers said Sunday as police continued their criminal investigation into the inferno that killed at least 58 people.

He said the government is carrying out an "urgent inspection" of other tower blocks in Britain to assess safety.

Public anger is mounting as residents and neighbors demand answers for how the blaze early Wednesday spread so quickly and trapped so numerous tower's 600-odd residents. Some fire officials said they had never seen a building fire move so quickly. He said there are roughly 2,500 similar apartment towers throughout Britain.

Another complicating factor is that much of the DNA material that would normally be used to help pinpoint victims - such as toothbrushes or combs - were probably also incinerated in the blaze. Hands cautioned that officials don't yet have exact details about the renovation that ended just previous year.

The 1974 concrete building had recently been fitted with new insulation cladding.

UK Chancellor Phillip Hammond said the cladding - which has been widely blamed for helping spread the blaze - was banned in Europe and the US.

Tottenham MP David Lammy called on Mrs May and the Metropolitan Police to immediately seize all relevant Grenfell Tower documents amid concerns among residents of a cover-up.

"The Prime Minister needs to act immediately to ensure that all evidence is protected so that everyone culpable for what happened at Grenfell Tower is held to account and feels the full force of the law".

He said all records - including emails, minutes of meetings, correspondence with contractors, safety assessments, specifications and reports - must be kept intact.

He also pointed out that dozens of tower blocks across London built in the 1960s and 1970s, like Grenfell Tower, may have failed to comply with current standards. "We need to know exactly the number of people who were there during this tragedy".

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Huth's lawyer, Gloria Allred, says the scheduling of a second deposition was on hold because of the criminal trial. Earlier in the week, they told the judge that they were deadlocked, but he ordered them to continue deliberating.

Cundy said police would consider criminal prosecutions if there is evidence of wrongdoing and the police investigation would include scrutiny of the renovation project. He has not provided details about the inquiry.

"There is a feeling from the community that they've been treated badly because some of them are poor, some of them may come from deprived backgrounds, some of them may be asylum seekers and refugees". Anger among residents has been mounting in recent days, as information about the missing has been scant, and efforts to find temporary housing have faltered.

Lammy, who represents Tottenham in north London in Parliament, tweeted Sunday that he had met with Grenfell Tower residents on Saturday night and that their treatment by the authorities had been "absolutely appalling".

Corbyn's comments come a day after Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May said support for families in the initial aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire "was not good enough" and announced a fund of 5 million pounds ($6.4 million) to help those affected by the blaze.

In addition, British health authorities will provide long-term bereavement counselling for those who lost loved ones in the tragedy.

If at least 58 deaths are confirmed, the blaze would be London's deadliest since World War II.

The Home Office has assisted Alhajali's family in "making arrangements for their travel to the UK" from Syria, and more than 85,000 people have signed a petition calling for his parents to be granted visas so they can attend his funeral.

Police said Saturday that 30 people had been confirmed dead since the fire, while another 28 remain missing and are presumed dead.

The bodies of 16 people have been taken to a mortuary, 15 who died at the scene and one who died in hospital.

Other reports by BadHub

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