'Unknown numbers' of dead remain in Grenfell Tower

Seventeen people have been confirmed dead and the number is expected to rise, with Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton telling Sky News there were still "unknown numbers" of people inside.

It is unsafe for firefighters to go to all parts of the 24-story tower, so the fire department is working with structural engineers to shore up the building so they can complete a "finger-tip search" of the entire structure, Cotton said.

A baby thrown from the building in desperation survived after it was caught by a member of the public. "People deserve answers, the inquiry will give them".

London firefighters, many traumatized by the devastation, worked Thursday to make the building safe so they could continue searching for more victims. 14 of them are in critical condition.

"Crews wearing breathing apparatus and extended duration breathing apparatus have been working in extremely challenging and hard conditions to rescue people and bring this major fire under control", Cotton said.

Planning documents detailing the refurbishment did not refer to a type of fire barrier that building safety experts said should be used when high-rise blocks are being re-clad, according to Reuters research.

Speaking in Downing Street, she said, "When it's possible to identify the cause of this fire, then of course there will be proper investigation and if there are any lessons to be learnt they will be, and action will be taken".

Grenfell Tower, which built in 1974, was recently refurbished at a cost of £8.6 million, with work completed in May past year.

The £8.7 million (9.9 million euro, $11 million) refurbishment also included new windows and heating systems.

He added: "That's when I noticed the fire from outside when I looked out the window".

"Adele was going around and hugging everyone she could to comfort them", one wrote on Twitter, while another added, "Adele is at now at Grenfell Tower asking if anyone needs help that was affected by the fire".

The west London MC claims rising death toll is "corporate manslaughter".

"This is going to be a long and complex recovery operation and I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12", Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said.

"It was the worst thing I have ever seen, it was a horrendous, major incident of a large scale that involved so many people, and it was beyond belief".

There were people waving and shining lights, some from their mobile phones, to attract attention while some merely stayed put in their flats, apparently following instructions that were given to residents by the building's fire management. "It had completely spread within half an hour".

"The people who died and lost their homes, this happened to them because they are poor", said the MOBO award-winning artist, who resides in the area, in an interview withChannel 4.

St. Clement's Notting Dale, a church near the tower, has turned into an informal center for people searching for missing friends and family. A handwritten sign reads "breakfast from 0800 inside".

Churches and a nearby mosque served as gathering points for donations for those who raced out of the burning building with little else than what they were wearing.

"Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in (the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea)".

  • Joanne Flowers