Death toll from London tower block blaze rises to 17
LONDON – Reuters
The death toll from the London tower block fire has risen to 17 and the figure is expected to rise further, police said on June 15.
"Sadly, I can confirm that the number of people that have died is now 17," London police commander Stuart Cundy told reporters.
"There is still a number of people who are receiving treatment in hospital. There are 37 people receiving treatment, of which 17 are still in critical care."
The fire engulfed a 24-storey building in west London in the early hours of June 14.
Smoke was still wafting out of the shell of the Grenfell Tower on Thursday morning and a Reuters witness saw a big piece of cladding falling from the building, 32 hours after fire engulfed the building in the early hours of Wednesday and turned it into a huge flaming torch in minutes.
Authorities have confirmed 12 deaths but have said that the figure would rise and that they did not expect to find any survivors. Firefighters rescued 65 people from the building.
London Fire Brigade chief Dany Cotton told ITV that her crews had reached the top floor of the building and conducted initial visual searches from doorways but had not done a comprehensive search because it was unsafe.
“We’ve got structural surveyors and my urban search and rescue team who are going to come down, make an assessment and find a way of making the building safe so that we can go through the whole building, fingertip search, painstakingly, looking to see what’s in there,” she said.
Prime Minister Theresa May was expected to visit the scene on Thursday, Sky News reported, citing unnamed sources. May’s Downing Street office had no immediate comment.
Survivors who have lost all their belongings in the blaze spent the night at emergency shelters, as charities and local support groups were flooded with donations of clothes and bedding from shocked Londoners.
The fire brigade said the inferno was unprecedented in its scale and speed.
“The scene that I was confronted with was an unparalleled scene to anything I had seen before. The building was ablaze. I have truly never seen that in a high-rise building,” Cotton told Sky News.