Thursday, June 15, 2017

Death toll in London tower block fire rises to 17

The death toll from the devastating tower block fire in west London has risen to 17 and police have warned it is expected to rise further.

Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "Sadly I can confirm that the number of people who have died is now 17.

"We do believe that that number will sadly increase."

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner has been appointed to lead the investigation, he added.

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: "This will be a detailed fingertip search.

"Obviously this will be a very slow and painstaking process."

She said there are still "unknown numbers" of people in Grenfell Tower in north Kensington and no survivors were expected to be found.

Specialist urban search and rescue teams are being brought in to make the 24-storey tower block safe to allow firefighters and the police to carry out investigations.

Search dogs will also be used to help locate the missing in the wreckage.

Flames could still be seen burning more than a day on from the disaster.

A total of 37 people are still being treated in hospital, with 17 in critical care, NHS England said in a statement this morning.

Ms Cotton said firefighters have not been able to conduct a comprehensive search of the 24-storey block of flats because it is not safe for them to walk to the edges of the building,

More than £1m has been raised to help those affected as the fire tore through the building.

Volunteers and charities helped to feed and shelter people who could not return to their homes overnight.

A wall of condolence was put up near the scene with photographs showing dozens of messages left for loved ones.

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