UK: Grenfell fire disaster death toll rises to 80
The death toll in the residential Grenfell Tower Block fire disaster is now 80, London police said Wednesday.
Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said that the final death toll in the June 14 catastrophe might not be provided until the end of the year.
"We are many months from being able to provide a number which we believe accurately represents the total loss of life inside Grenfell Tower," she said.
McCormack said police were also unable to determine who lived in 23 of the block's 129 apartments "despite huge investigative efforts".
"At this stage, we must presume that no one in those flats survived, that includes anyone who lived there or was visiting them," she said.
She added that the criminal investigation has identified 60 firms involved in Grenfell's refurbishment. The quick spread of the fire has been blamed on a particular type of cladding used on the outer surface of the building.
-MAY: GET ON WITH SAFETY CHECKS
Having ordered a full public inquiry into the Grenfell fire, Prime Minister Theresa May meanwhile told British lawmakers that the number of tower blocks that failed fire safety tests is now 120.
During Wednesday's Prime Minister Question Time, May also urged local authorities and housing associations to "get on" with fire safety checks without waiting for test results.
However, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn blamed the cuts in local administrations under Conservative governments for non-compliance with the fire regulations.
"Fewer inspectors, fewer building control inspectors, fewer planning inspectors -- we all pay a price," he said.
-UP TO 100 TOWER TESTS A DAY
North London's Camden Council is one of the 37 other local governance areas where unsafe blocks were identified.
The Camden Council evacuated 650 flats in Chalcots Estate in the Swiss Cottage area and the residents were given temporary accommodation in sport centers and hotel rooms, after warning that the flats were not safe following tests.
Around 600 towers in the U.K. have cladding, and some of these might have flammable systems, the Department for Communities and Local Government has estimated.
Councils have been asked by the government to conduct safety checks, as May said they would fund tests on up to 100 towers a day.
The Grenfell fire started due to a faulty fridge, police said last week.