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Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

London police say 58 people assumed dead in tower block blaze


"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", Commander Stuart Cundy told reporters at a news conference.

London police said Saturday that the death toll from the inferno at the Grenfell Tower in west London had risen to 58.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II observed a minute of silence, along with her husband, Prince Philip, before the annual parade marking her official birthday.

"The country has witnessed a succession of awful tragedies".

The fire at the 24-storey public housing project broke out early Wednesday - after Britons had been hit with three terrorist attacks in less than three months, in London and Manchester.

The prime minister is still reeling from a botched snap election that resulted in her Conservative Party's loss of its majority in Parliament. Some have even referred to it as her Hurricane Katrina moment.

The prime minister's response, characterized as stilted and lacking empathy, and her failure to meet with victims during an initial visit to the site only served to amplify complaints about her leadership.

The meeting came one day after May was chastised by protesters as she visited near the scene of the blaze.

"Government is making money available, we're ensuring that we're going to get to the bottom of what's happened, we will ensure that people are rehoused", the prime minister said. Mrs May has announced a fund of about $6.5 million for the victims.

"Grenfell Tower itself is 120 flats". He promised an exhaustive investigation into the fire which would include scrutiny of the renovation works on the block which some experts believe may have left the building more vulnerable to the catastrophic blaze.

He said there was a criminal investigation ongoing and pledged that anyone who has committed an offence would be brought to justice.

"My commitment to families is that as soon as we can, we will locate and recover their loved ones." the commander said.

The fire has also become a symbol of class inequality - the Grenfell Tower's charred remains stand high above one of the British capital's wealthiest neighbourhoods.

Sixteen bodies have been removed from the blackened, 24-story public housing unit, and the first victim was formally identified as Mohammed Alhajali, 23, a Syrian refugee.

The local Grenfell Action Group had claimed, before and during a major 10-million-pound refurbishment of Grenfell Tower past year, that the block constituted a fire risk and residents had warned that access to the site for emergency vehicles was "severely restricted". She said after the meeting that there have been "huge frustrations" in the community as people tried to get information.

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