30 confirmed dead in London high-rise fire

LONDON — The death toll in the high-rise tower blaze in Britain's capital soared to 30, police said Friday as they also warned that some of the victims may never be identified.

Meanwhile, British media reported that the number of dead could surpass 100.

Firefighters are still searching for victims in the 24-story Grenfell Tower that went up in flames early Wednesday. Six victims have been identified and the others have been located, but with dozens of people still apparently unaccounted for speculation has increased that the number of dead could hit three figures.

"From a personal perspective, I really hope it isn’t," Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said responding to speculation reported in The Telegraph and other media outlets that the number of dead could exceed 100. Police expect the number of dead to increase, but have not put a figure on it.

Twenty-four people are still in the hospital, 12 of them in critical condition.

Investigators fear that the bodies of many more victims could still be on the building's upper floors, areas firefighters have struggled to reach.

Cundy said that because the fire was so powerful there was "a risk that sadly we may not be able to identify everybody."

He also said that there was no evidence that the fire was started deliberately.

Rescue workers do not expect to find anyone else alive.

Families searching for information about their loved ones have, meanwhile, blanketed the area near the tower with posters searching for answers. And sorrow is quickly turning to anger over whether the building met fire and safety regulations.

Residents said they had been complaining for years about lax standards while aspects of a recent $13 million refurbishment to the building have fallen under suspicion of allowing the fire to spread more rapidly than expected.

Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a public inquiry into the incident that will establish what happened and who is to blame, although it won't lead to criminal prosecutions. Scotland Yard has opened a separate criminal investigation.

May met with hospitalized survivors Friday after coming under criticism for failing to meet with angry residents of the building earlier in the week. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William met with volunteers who have been distributing supplies for those affected by the disaster.

USA Today


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