United Kingdom royals honor London fire victims as anger mounts

20 June, 2017, 13:55 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Two women feared dead in Grenfell Tower were 'threatened with legal action' for raising alarm about fire safety

Fire broke out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, a social housing block in Kensington, west London, in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as it tore through the building with terrifying speed.

The acknowledgement of the increased death toll will be welcomed by many survivors and families of victims, who have said that it is clear the number of those who perished is far higher than the figure previously given by police.

Some 600 people were living in the tower's 120 apartments.

Police say the harrowing search for remains had been paused Friday because of safety concerns at the blacked tower but has resumed.

Some Grenfell residents had warned months ago fire safety issues at the tower meant that it was at risk of a "catastrophic" event.

She said local people were protesting the salaries of top civil servants, pay packages which Ms Allison said were "disconcerting and troubling".

Queen Elizabeth II said the disaster had cast a sombre pall over Britain, but insisted the country was showing resolve in the face of adversity.

While the blaze has prompted an outpouring of generosity, with many people donating provisions and clothes, it has also unleashed rage at the authorities as the charred tower was cast as a deadly symbol of a deeply divided society.

May sidestepped questions about the length of time between the fire and her visit and focused on supporting the victims.

Despite that outcome, fire experts say "stay put" is still the best advice - as long as the building has proper fire-suppression protections, such as multiple stairwells, sprinkler systems, fireproof doors and flame-resistant construction materials, some of which were lacking in the London blaze. "This year, however, it is hard to escape a very somber national mood".

Hundreds have been left homeless by the blaze, putting more pressure on officials in a city already plagued by a chronic housing shortage.

Alongside both police and fire investigations into the blaze, she has promised to set up a public inquiry.

Angry protesters chanting "We want justice" stormed their way into the Kensington and Chelsea town hall on Friday. British officials have ordered a review of other buildings that have had similar renovations.

Attending a church service near the building to remember victims, London mayor Sadiq Khan admitted the local community was frustrated at the official response to the disaster.

In a statement, the family of Mr Disson said: "Our family are devastated at receiving the news that Tony sadly did not survive the fire at Grenfell Tower".

"We are grateful to the Prime Minister for listening to us and for the assurances she has given us but now we need to see real action and immediate results with centralised coordination of the relief effort with residents closely involved".

He said there is a feeling among people that they have been treated badly and not understood by the council because some of them are "poor, some may come from deprived backgrounds, some may be asylum seekers and refugees".

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