A grim search for the missing
Investigations launched into cause of deadly London fire
London firefighters combed through a burned-out public housing tower Thursday in a grim search for missing people as police and the prime minister launched investigations into the deadly inferno, with pressure building on officials to explain the disaster and assure that similar buildings around the country are safe.
At least 17 people were killed as flames raced through Grenfell Tower early Wednesday, trapping people inside their apartments. Many people remained unaccounted for Thursday, and officials weren’t sure exactly how many were missing. But they expected the death toll to rise significantly.
London Police said an investigation had been launched to determine whether the blaze involved any crimes and Prime Minister Theresa May announced a public inquiry, a type of probe that’s used to investigate issues of major public concern. In addition, London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for an interim report on the fire to be published this summer.
An angry crowd confronted Khan as he visited the highrise.
“How many children died? What are you going to do about it?” asked seven-year-old Kai Ramos.
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. Some jumped to their deaths rather than face the flames.
Queen Elizabeth II praised the firefighters’ bravery, and their commissioner noted the trauma they had seen. One officer was in tears after seeing someone plunge out a window, Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton told Sky News.
The scorched facade of the Grenfell Tower in London, after a massive fire raced through the building.