79 people now presumed dead in London high-rise fire

The number of people killed in London’s Grenfell Tower inferno climbed to 79 — but may rise even further, police said Monday.

Five of the victims have been formally identified so far, Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said, the Telegraph reported.

Cundy said the “awful reality” was that it might not be possible to identify all the victims. Some families have lost more than one member, he added, the paper reported.

“On Saturday I went in myself and went to the top floor,” he said. “And it is incredibly hard to describe the devastation in some parts of that building.”

The death toll might continue to climb, authorities cautioned, because search operations are ongoing in the remains of the charred, gutted building.

Meanwhile, the government announced that those displaced by the massive blaze will be given the equivalent of at least $7,000 from an emergency fund.

Residents who met Prime Minister Theresa May over the weekend complained that they had not been consulted about the compensation before the announcement was made.

“We naturally welcome funds for those in need, though this does show once more the tendency to sideline residents’ views,” the residents said in a statement, the paper reported.

“At No. 10 (Downing Street) yesterday, the prime minister assured the group that from now on residents would be consulted on a coordinated relief effort. This has not happened with these funds,” they said.

The residents also assailed the Kensington city district and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization for its reaction to the disaster.

“In our meeting at Downing Street, we explained to the prime minister the anger of all residents towards the management of the estate over a long period of time, paving the way to this tragedy,” the group said.

“With the exception of very few junior officers, the estate managers have been invisible in the aftermath of the tragedy.”

In other developments, a company that renovated the tower denied that cladding on the building was banned in the UK after comments made by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

It was reported that the material used in the covering was Reynobond PE — a more flammable version of two options.

“My understanding is the cladding in question, this flammable cladding which is banned in Europe and the US, is also banned here,” Hammond told the BBC earlier.

John Cowley, managing director of CEP Architectural Facades, which produced rain-screen panels and windows for the building’s cladding sub-contractor Harley Facades Ltd, said: “Reynobond PE is not banned in the UK.

“Current building regulations allow its use in both low-rise and high-rise structures,” he said. “The key question now is whether the overall design of the building’s complete exterior was properly tested and subsequently signed off by the relevant authorities including the fire officer, building compliance officer and architect before commencement of the project.”

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Source: http://nypost.com/2017/06/19/police-raise-death-toll-in-london-high-rise-fire/

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