London tower fire: Death toll rises to 30, could climb over 100

Members of a search and rescue team work near the top of the gutted Grenfell Tower
Members of a search and rescue team work near the top of the gutted Grenfell Tower

The death toll in the fire that engulfed a 24-storey tower in west London rose to 30 yesterday amid fears that it could climb to over 100 in one of the worst fire tragedies in the country.

Metropolitan police commander Stuart Cundy said, "We know at least 30 people who have died. The bodies have been taken to a morgue, but more bodies remain in the building."

Queen Elizabeth II meets members of the community affected by the fire, on Friday
Queen Elizabeth II meets members of the community affected by the fire, on Friday

"We always knew that the death toll would rise," Cundy said, adding that there was nothing to suggest that the fire at Grenfell Tower was started deliberately.

"We as the police, we investigate criminal offences - I'm not sitting here and saying there are criminal offences that have been committed, that's why you do an investigation, to establish it."

The investigation into the cause will take weeks, he added. "Sadly, we do not expect any survivors."

Earlier in the day, Scotland Yard expressed fears that all the victims of the massive fire may never be identified.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a judge-led full public inquiry into the incident.

Newly-appointed Indian-origin housing minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government, Alok Sharma, said, "Every single family will be rehoused in the local area."

Syrian refugee is the first victim
The first victim of the Grenfell Tower inferno in London has been named as Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali (23), who came to Britain in 2014 and was studying engineering in London.

May to visit victims
Facing flak for not meeting with locals sooner, May was set to visit the injured in hospital yesterday, as pressure mounted on her after a failed poll gamble. Queen Elizabeth, London mayor Sadiq Khan and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn have all met the residents. May has even been criticised from within her own Conservative Party for not doing so.

Man caught near UK parliament
The British police fired a stun gun at a man who reached for a knife as he ran towards officers at one of the gates to the Westminster parliament in central London yesterday, witnesses said.

£2 mn
Worth of donations collected to help those affected by the fire in just two days

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