The Grenfell Tower Fire happened on June 14th, 2017. The building, a 24-story block of public housing apartments, is located in North Kensington, London, England. Daily Mail reports that fears have emerged that the plastic cladding of the building was a main factor in the inferno.
It was this inferno that caused the housing block to ‘light up like a matchstick.’ Daily Mail continues noting that the rain-proof cladding was installed in May 2016 as part of a refurbishment but claims say it helped the fire spread quickly.
The fire started in the middle of the night. Hundreds of firefighters and up to 45 fire engines were involved in efforts to control the fire. Residents that live in and around the building were evacuated.
Dozens are missing in the wake of the fire, according to Daily Mail, with residents saying that ‘nobody on the top floors has survived.’
It has now been confirmed that at least 17 people have died in Wednesday’s fire at Grenfell Tower. Police are saying that the death toll is very likely to rise.
Daily Mail also notes that there are more or less 18 people that are fighting for their lives and are in critical condition.
Though cladding is added to towers to make them more visually pleasing, it’s contributed to similar tower fires around the world, such as Dubai.
According to the Independent, search and rescue teams are being brought in to make the 24-storey tower block safe in North Kensington in order to allow further investigations.
In addition, sniffer dogs are being sent into the burnt-out tower in order to search for more bodies. Structural engineers will also work to make the building safe for firefighters.
According to the Met, Commander Stuart Cundy says the search operation is not going to be easy and may take weeks.
So far, nine firefighters have reportedly been hurt in the rescue and there are concerns for their mental health, according to The Guardian.
The Guardian quotes fire commander Dany Cotton saying “I’m more concerned longer term about the mental impact on a lot of people who were here.”
He continued saying: “People saw and heard things on a scale they have never seen before.” Families and friends of the missing are getting frustrated with the slow process.
They are getting upset about the lack of information about their missing loved ones. Independent reports that the names of at least 24 people have been circulated.
But police say the are unable to give figures on the number of people that are missing. Commander Cundy told the Independent, “There are still a number of people receiving treatment”
He also noted, “Like we explained yesterday, our absolute priority for all of us is about identifying and locating those people that are still missing.”
The Commander doesn’t feel it’s fair to give people numbers without knowing that it is 100% accurate. According to The Guardian, the flats were home to between 400 and 600 people.
The Guardian notes that the Queen has issued a message of condolence and has paid tribute to the bravery of the firefighters.
Though more bodies are yet to be found, a huge relief effort has swung into action, with charity workers and volunteers providing aid for those that have been affected.