Death Toll In London Apartment Building Fire Rises To 17

In a report compiled before the Grenfell Tower disaster on Wednesday, the Building Research Establishment, which works for the Department of Communities and Local Government on fire investigations, said attempts to innovate with insulation were leading to an "increase in the volume of potentially combustible materials being applied" to buildings.

Firefighters said they had taken 65 people from the burning building and a total of 74 people were listed as wounded, including 18 who remained in critical condition.

Nearly all of the building had been searched but crews were still trying to put out "pockets of fire" in hard to reach places and "unknown numbers" remain inside, London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Steve Apter said.

Christopher Miers, founder of Probyn Miers, an architecture firm that examines buildings damaged by fire, told the BBC it was important to determine the makeup of the cladding.

According to NBC News, more than 250 firefighters battled the inferno that could ultimately burn for days. Now that the heavy black smoke has cleared, the public could only gape at the huge burned-out hulk in west London's working-class, multi-ethnic North Kensington neighbourhood.

Prime Minister Theresa May said there would be an investigation into the cause of the "appalling tragedy", once the last bodies had been recovered.

Rydon, the main contractor, said in statement the project "met all required building regulations - as well as fire regulation and health and safety standards - and handover took place when the completion notice was issued by Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea building control".

"In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never ever seen anything of this scale", London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton told reporters.

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

Ray Bailey - managing director at Harley Facades, which has since gone into administration - said the company was "not aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding to the tower". It followed calls for those involved in the building's recent renovation - which many claim posed a major safety risk - to face prosecution.

About 60 firefighters, eight fire engines and other special resources were at the scene in west London on Thursday, LFB added.

"It was horrendous. People up at their windows, screaming and the thing went up, it felt like seconds, it was just going up and up and up", a resident who identified himself as Mikey, told the British Broadcasting Corporation. "Let's make sure it's speedy, it's open and that the residents' groups and residents concerned get the support they need to be represented at that inquiry".

One man wrote "our loss is heaven's gain" amid hundreds of touching messages.

Churches, mosques, temples and sports centres also opened their doors to help victims of the tragedy yesterday.

By Thursday, community centers had been so overwhelmed by food and clothing donations that they started turning away new donations. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has offered free food for survivors at one of his nearby eateries. "Today is one of those days", Rev. Mike Long said.

  • Leroy Wright