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Grenfell Tower building materials may have been illegal, UK ministers say

19 Juin 2017

Later on Sunday, former United Kingdom chancellor Philip Hammond said the cladding material used on the building was banned on British high-rises.

He said they would be looking at whether anyone could be charged with manslaughter following a litany of failings that led to the disaster - in which at least at least 58 people are now feared to have been killed.

He said the government is carrying out an "urgent inspection" of other tower blocks in Britain to assess safety. "But my understanding is that the best advice is that retrofitting sprinklers may not always be the best technical way of ensuring fire safety in a building", he said.

Experts believe the building's cladding, which contained insulation, helped the flames spread quickly up the outside of the housing complex. But we may well need help from our close neighbours.

Hands cautioned Sunday that investigators still don't know exactly what cladding was used when the building renovation was completed previous year.

But angry residents, many of whom lost everything they had as the fire tore through the 24-story apartment building in the early hours of Wednesday, say not enough is being done.

The Grenfell Tower fire was a "preventable accident" caused by "years of neglect" by the local council and successive governments, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said yesterday.

Hundreds of angry protesters gathered outside 10 Downing Street on Saturday, raising chants that called May a "coward", British media reported.

Flowers and missing persons posters were taped to the gates of the church, while bags of donations were piled outside the door.

He says it may be necessary for numerous outmoded tower blocks built in the 1970s to be demolished because of safety concerns.

Banned building materials suspected in London fire
But the meeting is unlikely to quell complaints that the prime minister has been slow to reach out to fire survivors. Those who lost their homes will be rehoused within three weeks, she said. "I hope it won't, but it may increase".

Labour Party lawmaker David Lammy demanded that the government and police immediately seize all documents relating to Grenfell's renovation to prevent the destruction of evidence that could show criminal wrongdoing.

David Lammy said Sunday he is anxious that documents will be quietly deleted and disposed of as police begin a search for evidence. He says trust in the authorities is "falling through the floor".

Police said they are using the INTERPOL Disaster Victim Identification Standards to identify the deceased.

Suspicions have grown that flammable materials were used to clad the building and accelerated the spread of the fire. The 24-storey tower that once housed up to 600 people in 120 apartments is now a charred ruin.

"Our focus has been on those that we know were in Grenfell Tower".

He said the situation has become an emergency and that "all assets" should be brought to the table. Anger among residents has been mounting in recent days as information about the missing has been scanty and efforts to find temporary housing have faltered.

At least 30 people have died in Wednesday's fire and dozens are missing.

London's Metropolitan Police confirmed Friday they had launched a criminal investigation into the incident.

The Home Office said late Saturday night it will make arrangements for the family of Mohammad Alhajali to "travel to the U.K.in these terribly sad circumstances".

The first victim to be formally identified was Mohammed Alhajali, a 23-year-old Syrian refugee, who came to Britain in 2014 with his brother.