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Grenfell Tower fire: death toll rises to 30

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Firefighters put out the blaze on the Grenfell Tower

Firefighters put out the blaze on the Grenfell Tower

The death toll from London’s devastating fire at the Grenfell Tower has risen to 30, with at least 70 people still missing, according to the latest updates from the police.

“Sadly we do not expect there to be any survivors,” said Stuart Cundy, the commander of the Metropolitan Police. As for how long it may take to retrieve the bodies still trapped in the building, the commander was noncommittal.

It would take time “to fully search that building to make sure we locate and recover everybody that has sadly perished in that fire,” he added. Sadly though, even if all bodies are recovered, some may never be identified.

24 former residents of the Grenfell Tower are in hospital, including 12 who are in critical condition.

Faulty fridge

Preliminary investigations suggest that the fire may have started from a faulty refrigerator in the fourth floor, in the kitchen of an Ethiopian cab driver identified as Behailu Kebede. Some survivors recall being warned by a distraught Kebede, who warned his neighbors of the fire raging in his kitchen.

The fire seems to have really taken hold when it hit the building’s exterior, which had been recently plastered with insulating cladding as part of a raft of renovations held between 2015 and 2016; it has since been determined that cheap, non-fire resistant cladding was preferred over a fire-resistant cladding that would have cost 2 pounds more per square meter.

The renovations also failed to include a sprinkler system, and survivors of the fire can’t recall hearing any fire alarms as the blaze raged on.

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a public inquiry into the fire, while police are conducting a criminal investigation.