Death toll climbs to 30 in London Grenfell Tower fire

Frederick Owens
June 17, 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May visited hospital to meet the people injured in the incident on Friday but she is under fire for not meeting victims of the fire sooner. "The sad reality is that this work will stretch into many weeks", he said. That is what a prime minister should do and that is what she has done.

Fire safety engineers were stunned at how rapidly the fire spread, engulfing the building in less than an hour in the middle of the night and preventing firefighters from reaching many people inside.

Around 70 people are missing, according to Britain's Press Association, and identification of the victims is proving very hard.

"I do believe the number will increase", police commander Stuart Cundy told reporters in front of the charred Grenfell Tower.

He also said survivors from the tower would be re-housed in the local area.

Aluminum composite panels have been used to cover the outside of buildings for more than 40 years. They essentially consist of two thin layers of aluminum sandwiched around a lightweight insulating material. One version of the product [has] a polyethylene core, the other version is around a fire-retardant mineral core.

The Times reported that contractors are thought to have used panels with a polyethylene core for the Grenfell project.

This type of cladding is 2 pounds cheaper, about $2.56, per square meter than the alternative Reynobond FR, which stands for "fire resistant".

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Around 800 people gathered outside Prime Minister Theresa May's residence at Downing Street to protest against the United Kingdom government's handling of the disaster, said Joey Ayoub, a journalist and activist who joined others at Number 10.

"It is criminal to wrap homes in flammable plastic", read another sign after it emerged that cladding installed on the exterior walls of the tower as part of refurbishment was officially graded as not fire-resistant.

She was living on the 20th floor and became separated from her family during the blaze.

Locals yelled questions at London Mayor Sadiq Khan when he walked through the neighbourhood yesterday. One Moroccan woman in the mosque, Habiba, said she was looking for a 16-year-old Moroccan school girl Nur Huda El Wahabi who is missing, who is best friends with her son Abdul. They lived on the 22nd floor.

Numerous displaced are living in churches and community centres.

They met volunteers, local residents and community representatives while visiting Westway Sports Centre in west London, near the burnt down 24-storey Grenfell Tower. The monarch has expressed her sympathies to families of victims of the blaze. She visited the former apartment building on Thursday and failed to even speak to survivors.

However, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took to Facebook to attack Labour politicians for "political game playing", defending his record regarding the fire service as mayor of London between 2008-2016.

The protests are a reflection of the anger in the community following the devastating fire that killed 30 people.

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