police launch criminal inquiry as the Grenfell Tower fire rises to at least 30 Death toll

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At least 30 people have died in the Grenfell Tower fire, police have revealed.

Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy confirmed the death toll as he spoke near the scene of the devastating blaze in west London on Friday.

‘I’m able to say at this point in time at least 30 people have died as a result of this fire,’ he said.

Mr Cundy said the victims included one person who had died in hospital.

‘There is nothing to suggest at this time that the fire was started deliberately,’ he added.

He added that they are looking into what criminal offences may have been committed.

However he added that there is nothing to suggest that the fire was started deliberately.


More than 70 people are believed to be unaccounted for since the blaze, which police fear was so devastating that some victims may never be identified.

Mr Cundy said he expected the death toll to rise further.
He said: ‘The building itself is in a very hazardous state. It is going to take a period of time for our specialists, both from the police and from the London Fire Brigade, to fully search that building to make sure we locate and recover everybody that has sadly perished in that fire.

We will be dong that as swiftly as we can.’
An investigation led by a senior detective from Scotland Yard’s homicide and major crime command is under way with calls for ‘corporate manslaughter’ arrests to be made.

Mr Cundy vowed police ‘will get to the answer of what has happened and why’, adding: ‘If criminal offences have been committed it is us who will investigate that.’

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Mr Cundy said the bodies of 12 victims had been taken to the mortuary but ‘a number of bodies’ remain in the tower.

Twenty-four people are being treated in hospital, including 12 who are in critical care, he added.

The scorched facade of the Grenfell Tower in London, Thursday, June 15, 2017, after a massive fire raced through the 24-storey high-rise apartment building in west London early Wednesday. Firefighters are beginning the task of combing through the devastated apartment tower, Thursday, checking integrity of the structure and searching to find victims.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Mr Cundy said investigators had examined the location where the fire is believed to have started, but conditions within the tower remain ‘hazardous’.

‘It’s going to take us a considerable period of time to fully work through Grenfell Tower over the coming weeks to ensure we complete our investigation,’ he said.

Police open criminal inquiry as death toll from Grenfell Tower fire jumps to 30

The latest police update came as a second victim of the disaster was named as 24-year-old artist Khadija Saye.

Ms Saye was in her flat on the 20th floor when the fire struck, with her mother Mary Mendy, who is thought to be in her 50s.

Tottenham MP David Lammy confirmed the news on Twitter, writing: ‘May you rest in peace Khadija Saye. God bless your beautiful soul. My heart breaks today. I mourn the tragic loss of a wonderful young woman.’

Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali, 23, was also killed in the fire.

Mr Cundy said the bodies of 12 victims had been taken to the mortuary but ‘a number of bodies’ remain in the tower.

Police open criminal inquiry as death toll from Grenfell Tower fire jumps to 30

Twenty-four people are being treated in hospital, including 12 who are in critical care, he added.

Mr Cundy said investigators had examined the location where the fire is believed to have started, but conditions within the tower remain ‘hazardous’.

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‘It’s going to take us a considerable period of time to fully work through Grenfell Tower over the coming weeks to ensure we complete our investigation,’ he said.

The latest police update came as a second victim of the disaster was named as 24-year-old artist Khadija Saye.

Ms Saye was in her flat on the 20th floor when the fire struck, with her mother Mary Mendy, who is thought to be in her 50s.

Police open criminal inquiry as death toll from Grenfell Tower fire jumps to 30

Tottenham MP David Lammy confirmed the news on Twitter, writing: ‘May you rest in peace Khadija Saye. God bless your beautiful soul. My heart breaks today. I mourn the tragic loss of a wonderful young woman.’

Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali, 23, was also killed in the fire.

The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge met people helping those affected by the fire as they visited a rest centre near the charred remains of the tower.

Meanwhile, Theresa May, who faced criticism for not meeting residents during her visit to the scene, went to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where eight people are being treated.

Police open criminal inquiry as death toll from Grenfell Tower fire jumps to 30

The Prime Minister is to chair a cross-Whitehall meeting on how the authorities can help affected communities and victims recover.

Fire crews were again using water to damp down the high-rise building as they began a third day of picking through the debris.

The streets around the tower block in north Kensington are plastered with posters begging for information about those who were in the building.

More appeals were put up overnight on Thursday as relatives became increasingly distraught about their loved ones.

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Police open criminal inquiry as death toll from Grenfell Tower fire jumps to 30

Police have said they fear the blaze was so devastating that some victims may never be identified.

Responding to speculation that the number of dead could exceed 100, Mr Cundy previously 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.’

More than £2 million has been raised to help those affected by the fire, with more than 60 tonnes of donations collected by one local mosque.

 

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