Stay put? Deadly London fire puts scrutiny on high-rise rule

Protesters have entered Kensington Town Hall in London, demanding answers from the local council over the Grenfell Tower residential building fire, Sky News reported on Friday.

Among the questions being asked are whether the owner of the building took any shortcuts in its use of construction materials, including the installation of external cladding, part of a renovation completed a year ago, that may have accelerated the fire’s spread: It took only 15 minutes to take hold across the tower block.

Cundy added that the death toll could rise.

Police say at least 58 people are either confirmed or presumed dead, with the figure likely to rise in coming days.

The bodies of 16 people have been taken to a mortuary, 15 who died at the scene and one who died in hospital.

Asked by ITV interviewer Robert Peston if he would “seize it forever, or just just take it for as long as they’re needed”, he replied: “Occupy, compulsory purchase it, requisition it, there’s a lot of things you can do”.

Cundy said a full forensic and systematic search was being carried out, but people must prepare for the worst.

One London member of Parliament has called for corporate manslaughter charges after learning flammable material was used to clad the building during the recent renovation. These include the Adair Tower, a 14-story apartment that was set afire in an arson attack in October 2015.

Earlier on Friday, the prime minister spent nearly an hour speaking to patients and staff at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Theresa May has announced a £5m fund for those affected by the tragedy.

May said after the meeting Saturday that there have been “huge frustrations” in the community as people tried to get information.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May admitted that support for families in the “initial hours” was “not good enough”. Britain’s Press Association says around 70 people are missing.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote to May on Friday, saying residents felt increasingly enraged and frustrated by the slow response from the authorities. “I do believe the number will increase”, police commander Stuart Cundy told reporters in front of the charred Grenfell Tower.

Officials are using dental records, fingerprints and DNA samples to try and positively identify victims.

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip have observed a minute of silence to honor the victims of the London high-rise fire.

Syrian refugee Mohammed Al Haj Ali is one of the first identified victims.

In a television interview Friday, she sidestepped questions over whether she had misread the public mood. Hundreds have been left homeless by the blaze, putting more pressure on officials in a city plagued by a chronic housing shortage. It followed a separate, smaller protest at Kensington Town Hall, where residents tried to air their grievances to councillors.

The tragedy has provoked a big response from nearby communities that have donated food and shelter to the victims. More than 3 million pounds ($3.8 million) have been raised for the victims.

Worshippers and the wider community outside the church joined in with a moving rendition of Labi Siffre’s (Something Inside) So Strong. “We need to know exactly the number of people who were there during this tragedy”.

He added: “We would like the chief executive of the council to make public commitments on what the council is going to do for the victims of this borough, and for all the other buildings in the borough that could stand the same fate at Grenfell Towers“.