Theresa May sidesteps questions about response to Grenfell Tower disaster

A criminal investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the blaze. Firefighters continued to pick their way through the burnt-out wreckage of the building Friday.

Residents said they had been complaining for years about lax standards while aspects of a recent $13 million refurbishment to the building have fallen under suspicion of allowing the fire to spread more rapidly than expected.

May met with hospitalized survivors Friday after coming under criticism for failing to meet with angry residents of the building earlier in the week.

The fire broke out less than a week after an election in which May lost her parliamentary majority.

Police Commander Stuart Cundy said the number of 58 is based on reports from the public and may rise.

The latest figures from NHS England show that 24 people are still being treated in hospitals across London, of whom 12 remain in critical care.

"They are simply not recognisable because of the fire", Fiona McCormack, from the Metropolitan Police's identification team, said of the victims found inside Grenfell Tower.

"I won't know that until we've gone through the full recovery from Grenfell Tower and we know exactly what we've got and I anticipate that is going to take a considerable period of time".

Londoners were left searching for answers Thursday one day after a deadly high-rise fire - as experts eyed the apartment building's extremely flammable covering as a possible culprit in the fast-moving blaze.

He also reiterated the Government's promise to rehouse those displaced by the fire within three weeks, either in Kensington, or neighbouring boroughs.

Originally constructed in 1974, the residential tower block recently underwent a $13.2 million (£10.3 million) refurbishment.

Residents had complained about safety for several years.

Grenfell Tower residents had expressed a series of concerns to the local council, including the lack of sprinklers and the fact that it had a single staircase - a common feature of 1970s tower blocks.

The group's blog post argued that only "a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord. and bring an end to the unsafe living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders". We will cooperate fully with all the relevant authorities in order to ascertain the cause of this tragedy.

The residential tower was built in 1974 and had been extensively refurbished in works that were completed past year.

May has been criticised from within her own Conservative Party over her response and she pledged on Thursday to hold a public inquiry into the fire at the social housing block which was home to about 600 people. But the government has been criticized for failing to act on recommendations from previous tower block fires.

Gavin Barwell, former housing minister and now May's chief of staff, came under focus for alleged inaction on an inquiry report into a similar fire in London.

Barwell had told lawmakers that the government meant to review fire safety standards following a deadly blaze at the Lakanal House high-rise building in south London in 2009, in which three women and three children died. In that case, exterior paneling helped the fire spread.

  • Zachary Reyes