The Latest: UK's May pledges $6.4 million for fire survivors
Posted June 16
LONDON — The Latest on the London tower block fire (all times local):
British Prime Minister Theresa May is promising a comprehensive package of help for victims of the devastating fire at a west London apartment building.
May on Friday announced a 5 million pound ($6.4 million) fund following meeting with survivors of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The package includes a guarantee to rehouse people as close as practically possible to where they previously lived — either in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea or in neighboring boroughs.
May says she "spoke with people who ran from the fire in only the clothes they were wearing."
May says the fund aims to "give the victims the immediate support they need to care for themselves and for loved ones. We will continue to look at what more needs to be done."
The move came after strong criticism from London's mayor, Sadiq Khan.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has sent an open letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May, demanding that she explain how she will support the community surrounding the site of an apartment building fire that killed at least 30 people.
Khan told the prime minister Friday that residents were increasingly angry, distraught and frustrated because the government and local authorities had not done enough to help them or to answer questions about dead or missing loved ones.
Khan says he believes their grief was being exacerbated by the lack of information.
He says while "current systems in place may work well for a terrorist attack, there are legitimate questions about whether they are still appropriate in situations where obtaining this information could take much longer."
Councils across Britain are ordering urgent reviews of their social housing stock following the London fire that devastated a 24-story bloc and killed at least 30 people
The Local Government Association, representing 370 councils in England and Wales, says extra safety checks have been organized across local authorities, including Camden, Newham, Croydon and Redbridge.
Association chairman Gary Porter says that "fire risk assessments and the construction of buildings are being reviewed and double checks are being made to ensure remedial work recommended under previous assessments have been carried out."
Prime Minister Theresa May has already ordered a public inquiry into the disaster in hopes of calming public anxiety.
Anger following the London high-rise rise fire has boiled over with protests erupting in at least two places in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea. People are chanting "We want justice."
Some 200 people marched near Notting Hill Gate tube station on Friday, demanding action from local councilors tasked with housing people following the disaster.
A separate protest occurred near the town hall offices. Protesters are worried that councilors will dispatch homeless residents far from their communities.
London has a chronic housing shortage even in the best of times, and people fear being forced out of the city.
The protests are a reflection of the anger in the community following the devastating fire that killed 30 people.
Britain's Guardian newspaper is reporting that cladding used on the high-rise structure that burned this week in west London was made of the cheaper, more flammable material of two types offered by the manufacturer.
The newspaper said Friday that Omnis Exteriors manufactured the aluminum composite material used in the cladding. It quoted director John Cowley as saying that Omnis had supplied Reynobond PE cladding.
This type of cladding is 2 pounds cheaper ($2.56) per square meter than the alternative Reynobond FR, which stands for "fire resistant".
Cowley was quoted by the Guardian as saying: "We supplied components for a system created by the design and build team on that project."
Attention has focused on a recent renovation project involving cladding installation as people search for answers on the fire that claimed at least 30 lives.
Prime Minister Theresa May is speaking with survivors of the high-rise fire in which 30 people are confirmed to have died.
May visited Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, which is treating eight people. Three are in critical condition.
The visit can be seen as a response to the anger of residents from the west London neighborhood because May had visited the scene of the fire without meeting victims. Other members of her Conservative Party urged her to show concern for the dozens of victims and survivors of the blaze.
May will later chair a meeting on how the authorities can help affected communities and victims recover.
London police say the number of victims has increased to 30 in the fire that engulfed a high-rise building.
Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said Friday that 24 people are being treated in the hospital, including 12 in critical care. The number of victims is expected to grow.
Authorities say they've examined original location of fire and there is no indication it was started deliberately
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William have arrived at a west London site where community groups have gathered supplies for those affected by the tower fire disaster.
The queen is meeting with volunteers Friday.
The monarch has expressed her sympathies to families of victims of the blaze that ripped through the 24-story building, killing at least 17.
Relatives of those missing after a high-rise tower blaze in London are searching frantically for their loved ones, as the police commander in charge of the investigation says he hopes the death toll will not rise to three figures.
Firefighters searching the smoldering ruin in west London have recovered six bodies from the 24-story Grenfell Tower, while 11 others have been located but cannot yet be removed from the gutted structure.
Families searching for their loved ones have blanketed the area near the tower with posters searching for answers, and sorrow is quickly turning to anger over whether recent building works were properly done.
Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy responded to speculation that the number of dead could exceed 100, saying: "From a personal perspective, I really hope it isn't."