Rav­aged build­ing toll rises

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - WORLD - ELLEN WHIN­NETT

MORE than 70 of the Gren­fell Tower’s res­i­dents are now feared to have died, as the of­fi­cial num­ber of deaths yes­ter­day climbed to 30 and po­lice warned it could take months to lo­cate vic­tims in­side the black­ened tower.

The po­lice­man head­ing the in­quiry into Wed­nes­day’s fire, Com­man­der Stu­art Cundy, said he “hoped” the death toll would not reach 100.

“From a per­sonal per­spec­tive, I re­ally hope it isn’t,” a vis­i­bly dis­tressed Mr Cundy said.

“For those of us that have been down there it’s pretty emo­tional, so I hope it is not triple fig­ures, but I can’t be drawn on the num­bers.”

Po­lice have con­firmed 30 bod­ies have been lo­cated but it is be­lieved at least 70 peo­ple have died.

At least 18 chil­dren are among those feared killed, along with a fam­ily of six, an­other fam­ily of four, and sev­eral el­derly and dis­abled res­i­dents who could not make it down the cen­tral fire stairs.

Fire­fight­ers yes­ter­day made it to the roof of the 24storey block of coun­cil flats in west London, but were un­able to en­ter the top three floors due to the risk of col­lapse.

It’s feared dozens of the miss­ing res­i­dents may have been trapped on those floors, un­able to es­cape the fire which ap­pears to have started with a small elec­tri­cal fire in a kitchen on the fourth floor, but spread rapidly through cheap ex­te­rior cladding in­stalled on the build­ing’s fa­cade last year.

So fe­ro­cious was the blaze, po­lice have warned some of the vic­tims may never be found.

Only two peo­ple have been con­firmed by their fam­i­lies so far as de­ceased: Khadija Saye, 24, an artist who lived in the build­ing with her mother, and Mo­hammed al-Haj Ali, 23, a univer­sity stu­dent and Syr­ian refugee who fled the As­sad regime for a new life in London.

Twenty-four peo­ple re­main in hos­pi­tal and 12 re­main in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

Mr Cundy con­firmed po­lice had ex­am­ined the site where the fire started and there was noth­ing to in­di­cate it was de­lib­er­ately lit, but he did not say how it started.

Of the 30 con­firmed deaths, the bod­ies of 12, in­clud­ing one who died in hos­pi­tal, have been taken to a mor­tu­ary, while 18 more re­main in­side the tower.

Out­side the tower, fu­ri­ous res­i­dents heck­led Mr Cundy, coun­cil­lors and politi­cians as they at­tended the scene, and sev­eral yelled at Queen El­iz­a­beth and her grand­son Prince Wil­liam when they at­tended the West­way sports cen­tre, which is act­ing as a makeshift shel­ter. Prince Wil­liam told res­i­dents the fire was “one of the most ter­ri­ble things I have ever seen”.

The Royal fam­ily got a bet­ter re­cep­tion later at the an­nual Troop­ing the Colour pa­rade, which was a som­bre af­fair in def­er­ence to the tragedy.

The Royal fam­ily gather on the bal­cony of Buck­ing­ham Palace for a bit­ter­sweet Troop­ing the Colour cer­e­mony

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.