Homi­cide charges pos­si­ble over fire

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - DANICA KIRKA

LON­DON: Man­slaugh­ter charges are among the of­fences un­der con­sid­er­a­tion in the dev­as­tat­ing Gren­fell Tower blaze that killed 79 peo­ple, po­lice said yes­ter­day.

In its most de­tailed brief­ing on the crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Metropoli­tan Po­lice De­tec­tive Su­per­in­ten­dent Fiona McCor­mack con­firmed sus­pi­cions by res­i­dents that a fridge had sparked the June 14 blaze.

She also re­vealed that cladding placed on the build­ing dur­ing a re­cent ren­o­va­tion had failed safety tests con­ducted by po­lice in their in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Doc­u­ments from a num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions have been seized.

“We are look­ing at ev­ery crim­i­nal of­fence from man­slaugh­ter on­wards, at ev­ery health and safety and fire safety of­fences and re­view­ing ev­ery com­pany in­volved in the build­ing and re­fur­bish­ment of Gren­fell Tower,” she said.

The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment has or­dered an im­me­di­ate ex­am­i­na­tion of the model of fridge. McCor­mack said the Hot­point FF175BP fridge-freezer had not been sub­ject to any prod­uct re­calls. The fire spread quickly through the tower block, lead­ing to con­cerns that cladding on the build­ing did not meet fire-safety rules.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion comes as au­thor­i­ties re­alise the fire will have na­tional con­se­quences for thou­sands liv­ing in tower blocks. Eleven build­ings around Bri­tain have the com­bustible cladding found in the Gren­fell Tower.

The cladding is being stud­ied amid fears that the pan­els fu­elled the fire in the 24-storey build­ing since it was en­gulfed in less than an hour.

Fears about cladding are not lim­ited to apart­ment build­ings.

At least one hotel chain is call­ing in ex­perts to make cer­tain it meets safety reg­u­la­tions.

McCor­mack re­peated calls for any­one with in­for­ma­tion on who might have been in the tower to come for­ward af­ter Lon­don mayor Sadiq Khan pledged to seek an amnesty for peo­ple liv­ing in the block il­le­gally. – AP

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