A resident in a nearby building watches smoke rising from Grenfell Tower, where 58 people died in a fire.  Matt Dunham / AP
A resident in a nearby building watches smoke rising from Grenfell Tower, where 58 people died in a fire. Matt Dunham / AP

Death toll of the London tower blaze climbs to a post-war record of 58



Police say 30 are dead while 28 more trapped in building

LONDON // The death toll of the London tower block fire has risen to 58, police said yesterday.

Thirty of those have been confirmed dead while 28 others who are unaccounted for are known to have been in the building when the fire broke out.

If that death toll is confirmed, it would make the Grenfell Tower blaze the deadliest in London since the Second World War.

“Sadly at this time, there are 58 people who we have been told were in Grenfell Tower on the night that are missing and therefore sadly I have to assume that they are dead,” said Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police.

But that figure could change, he said.

Prime minister Theresa May’s government earlier sought to quell anger over the disaster, pledging to support the victims after protesters jeered her when she visited residents. She also met a group of victims at her office in Downing Street yesterday.

Mrs May was hustled away under heavy police guard from a meeting with residents on Friday as protesters shouted “Shame on you” and hundreds stormed a local town hall calling for justice.

After a botched snap election that lost her party its majority in parliament, the prime minister is facing criticism for her response to the blaze that engulfed the 24-storey apartment block of social housing on Wednesday.

Residents of the destroyed tower said Mrs May was far too slow to visit the community, and that officials had failed to give enough information and support to those who have lost relatives and their homes.

Mrs May has promised a public inquiry into the catastrophe, and also pledged £5 million (Dh23.5m) of support, housing guarantees and help with access to bank accounts and cash.

Those who lost their homes would be rehoused within three weeks, she said.

* Reuters

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