Sunday 17 December 2017

'Died because of what they were told to do': Fury grows as London Grenfell Tower blaze death toll set to pass 100

  • Fury grows as fire death toll set to pass 100

  • 'True scale of disaster may never be known' - police

  • Residents demand answers over litany of failings which led to disaster

  • Concerns raised about the cladding of the building

  • 'A lot of people died because of what they were told to do... it was horrible'

Water is sprayed on Grenfell Tower in west London yesterday after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Rick Findler/PA Wire
Water is sprayed on Grenfell Tower in west London yesterday after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Rick Findler/PA Wire
A photo obtained by the BBC of inside a flat in Grenfell Tower

Hayley Dixon

Grief and sorrow at the Grenfell Tower inferno gave way to anger last night as residents of the gutted block demanded answers over the litany of failings which led to the disaster.

As fears mounted that the death toll could rise above 100, senior politicians who visited the scene were asked to explain why a series of loopholes had left the inhabitants vulnerable, despite repeated warnings over the past 30 years.

It emerged that there have been no updates to Britain's building fire safety regulations for more than a decade, even though a number of fires abroad suggested they are out of date.

Particular concerns have been raised about the cladding on the outside of buildings for a number of years, which experts say may have intensified the inferno which consumed the 24-storey Kensington block in just 15 minutes.

Last night, the search for those who perished in the flats was underway as the fire brigade warned the painstaking operation could take weeks.

Relations who had still not managed to track down loved ones penned moving tributes on a wall of condolence.

Meanwhile, local authorities across the country began reviews of the cladding on high rise blocks. Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a public inquiry into the fire as she promised that all residents would be rehoused locally.

It came as police admitted that the death toll could reach 100 and senior officers conceded the true scale of the disaster may never be known. It was reported last night that some of the bodies may never be recovered.

Mrs May said: "We need to know what happened; we need to have an explanation of this, we owe that to the families. To the people who have lost loved ones, friends, and the homes in which they lived." However, Mrs May faced criticism for not meeting residents when she visited the scene. She instead attended a briefing with emergency services. She later defended her actions, saying: "I wanted a briefing from the emergency services."

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, was heckled by residents as he praised the emergency services. He tried to shake the hand of Kai Ramos (7), who instead asked: "How many children died? What are you going to do about it?"

A woman reads a wall of tributes close to Grenfell Tower in west London yesterday morning. Photo: PA
A woman reads a wall of tributes close to Grenfell Tower in west London yesterday morning. Photo: PA

In contrast Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, hugged relations of the missing at the scene and called for the empty homes of wealthy people in Kensington to be seized for residents made homeless by the fire.

Mrs May is struggling to recover her authority and form a government in the wake of the Conservatives' disastrous election performance. Nick Robinson, the BBC presenter, suggested that the fire represented the "biggest political risk" facing the prime minister and compared it to the situation George W Bush faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, urged the unions to mobilise more than a million protesters to put pressure on Mrs May to stand down in a march on July 1.

The public anger was fuelled by an emerging picture of failings surrounding the safety in the building, including allegations that fire doors had not been fitted, which the police and fire brigade said would form part of their investigation. Two sources have said not all the front doors in the tower block were fire-proofed. This is significant because official fire brigade advice to stay put in the event of a fire is based on fire doors offering protection to residents told not to leave the building.

Sidani Atmani (41) said his neighbour on the 15th floor, a man he knew as Stephen, died because he had followed fire brigade instructions to stay in his flat.

"A lot of people died because of what they were told to do," he said. "It was horrible."

If there was a lack of fire doors that may help to explain why the fire spread so rapidly rather than being "compartmentalised". The local council declined to comment. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
A police officer holds a riot shield over a firefighter at a tower block severely damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Local resident Amanda Fernandez stands outside St Clement and St James Church, close to the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London which is on fire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Helen William/PA Wire
Student Tiago Etienne, 17, who witnessed scenes after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Helen William/PA Wire
A firefighter photographs damage after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
Emergency services gather close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire
Emergency services close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire
Emergency services close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire
Emergency services close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire
A firefighter investigates a floor after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PA
Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire
A man arrives with refreshments near a tower block severely damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
A man hands out refreshments near a tower block severely damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
A firefighter investigates a floor after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. (PA)
Turafat Yilma who was forced to flee burning Grenfell Tower with her young child has claimed their warnings that a refurbishment posed safety risks were ignored. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. Yilma, a 39-year-old resident on the building's seventh floor, was awoken by a call from her neighbour on the 17th floor telling her to escape. See PA story FIRE Grenfell Mother. Photo credit should read: Jack Hardy/PA Wire
A firefighter investigates a floor after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire
A firefighter investigates a floor after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PA
A firefighter investigates a floor after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire
A woman reacts near a tower block severely damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
People react near a tower block severely damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
People react near a tower block severely damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Firefighters direct jets of water onto a tower block severely damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Denise Bloomfield, 37, who was evacuated from a nearby flat, after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PA Wire
Local resident Georgina stands distraught on her balcony after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PA Wire
Yaz (no surname given) who is awaiting news of her friend who was caught up in a fire that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
A local resident is carried to receive some medical aid at a community centre close to a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Debris on the ground from a fire that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Debris on the ground from a fire that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
A relief fund set up by local residents for those caught up in a fire that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Firefighters rest as they take a break in battling a massive fire that raged in a 27-floor high-rise apartment building in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Fire swept through a high-rise apartment building in west London early Wednesday, killing an unknown number of people and sending more than 50 people to area hospitals. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Firefighters stand amid debris in a childrens playground near a tower block severly damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
People look at smoke billowing from a tower block severly damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Two women sit on the grass after a tower block was severly damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
A woman speaks on a mobile phone near a tower block that was severly damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Emergency services gather close to the scene after a fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire
A youth looks at smoke billowing from a tower block severly damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Firefighters wait to start their shift after a massive fire raged in a 27-floor high-rise apartment building in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. London's Metropolitan Police said a number of people were being treated for a range of injuries, but did not provide more specifics. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Twitter that a major incident had been declared. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Firefighters wait to start their shift after a massive fire raged in a 27-floor high-rise apartment building in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. London's Metropolitan Police said a number of people were being treated for a range of injuries, but did not provide more specifics. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Twitter that a major incident had been declared. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Smoke billows as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
A person, bottom right, peers out of a window from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
A helicopter and an airplane are seen as flames and smoke billow while firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A helicopter is seen as flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A helicopter is seen as flames and smoke billow while firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A helicopter and an airplane are seen as flames and smoke billow while firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A helicopter is seen as flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A helicopter is seen as flames and smoke billow while firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Firefighters tackle a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Smoke billows as firefighters tackle a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Smoke and flames billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Firefighters tackle a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Smoke and flames billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
An airplane is seen as flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Fames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A helicopter is seen as flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Smoke billows as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A helicopter is seen as flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
An airplane is seen as flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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