Firefighters yet to fully search burnt London tower block: Fire brigade chief

Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a full public inquiry into the fire.

She played in the West London tower block as a child.

"We will cooperate with the relevant authorities and emergency services and fully support their enquiries into the causes of this fire at the appropriate time", it said.

Police and fire minister Nick Hurd is now taking questions from MPs in Westminster Hall.

A prominent London Member of Parliament, David Lammy of the opposition Labour Party, said corporate manslaughter charges should be brought against those held responsible for the tragedy.

Police confirmed 17 deaths among the 600 residents thought to have lived in the tower but expect that toll to rise significantly as the building is searched. Local council says it has enough donations for the survivors. Thirty-seven people remained in hospital, with 17 of them in critical care.

Prime Minister Theresa May visits the scene.

A brief search of all floors in the tower had been carried out but the severity of the fire and amount of debris meant a thorough search would be "difficult and painstaking", she said.

Meanwhile Adele is reported to have visited the scene of the fire on Wednesday night.

She was also seen sharing a greeting with some locals. Senior fire officials described the progression of the fire as unprecedented.

Questions have been raised about why the fire spread so quickly and whether the advice given to residents was correct - they were told to stay put and wait to be rescued.

"We need to know what happened", a resolute May said.

Cotton said authorities genuinely don't know how many people died and that firefighters have been traumatized by the inability to save more people.

"Obviously this will be a very slow and painstaking process".

The company responsible for managing the Grenfell Tower, Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) contracted the £10m refurbishment of Grenfell to a private construction firm, Rydon.

Notably, redevelopment of the building included provisions for improvements to the "smoke/fire safety and ventilation works". Residents say their fears about fire safety had been ignored for years.

As well as the generous public, celebrities and football clubs have expressed their shock and offered to help people impacted by the devastating blaze in any way they can. In a November 20 blog, the group predicted that only "a catastrophic event" leading to "serious loss of life" would bring the outside scrutiny needed to make conditions safe for residents.

"Residents of Grenfell are all over the place so we will do a needs assessment". "We always take all concerns seriously and these will form part of our forthcoming investigations", KCTMO said.

"The fire is not supposed to spread from one flat to another, it's supposed to be contained".

"I could see the flames behind, there's a new cladding system put on the outsides that looks like a new skin, there's an air gap an insulation behind that, to me that looks like a fantastic chimney for the fire to rage around".

"It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the unsafe living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders", members of the group said in a blog dated November 2016. This is because high-rise buildings are created to prevent fires spreading through the building with measures like fire-resisting walls, ceilings and doors.

Resident Hamid Wahbi said that as he fled, he asked about a neighbor's father but was told he was still inside. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said before that many questions must be answered about safety for the scores of other apartment buildings around the British capital. But the focus has turned to renovations completed previous year that added decorative touches to the building.

The remains of Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block in west London.

"It is considered that occupants are safer in their dwelling than coming out into potentially smoke logged corridors", he said. Help! Help!' The fire brigade could only help downstairs.

The singer Adele was among many Londoners who gathered close to the burnt tower late on Wednesday to show sympathy for the victims and survivors. Dozens of others have been hospitalized.

In pictures on Twitter, the star, who was born in Tottenham, north London, appeared emotional and was dressed in black.

Appeals are being made on social media for news of friends and family who are still missing and the Indian High Commission in London has also made an appeal on Facebook for any Indians caught up in the tragedy to make contact.

  • Larry Hoffman