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UK Government scrambles to limit fallout from London fire
19 June 2017, 02:20 | Opal Carroll
Jeremy Corbyn met staff and volunteers at a church near the scene
The Police has announced that the fifty-eight people who are still missing after the Grenfell Tower fire, are being presumed dead. "We've always been advocates of automatic fire sprinkler protection in tall tower blocks and they work - people don't die in sprinkler buildings", he said.
The move follows widespread criticism of the local Kensington and Chelsea Council's performance as residents of the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, which was engulfed in fire early on Wednesday, condemned the relief efforts and lack of information.
It was reported that the material used in the cladding covering Grenfell was Reynobond PE - a cheaper, more flammable version of two available options.
"Our focus has been on those that we know were in Grenfell Tower".
Police Commander Stuart Cundy says police will seek criminal prosecutions if the evidence warrants.
"All I can say is to my certain knowledge the council, councillors, volunteers, community groups, officers of the council, have been present in North Kensington since very soon after they were notified that the fire had started".
A day after the deadly incident, Housing Minister Alok Sharma told MPs the government "will guarantee that every single family from Grenfell Tower will be re-housed in the local area".
What makes the London fire maddening for fire experts who believe in the "stay put" rule is that Grenfell Tower may have lacked numerous safety redundancies necessary to make it work.
New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, whose department is among the most practised in the world at fighting fires in tall buildings, says he believes in the stay-put policy but "what happened in London, in which a fire went from the fourth floor to the 21st floor in what we understand was in 17 minutes, is unprecedented".
The cause of Wednesday's blaze is still under investigation, but anger has mounted in the community amid reports that exterior paneling used in an extensive renovation completed a year ago may have been banned by United Kingdom rules.
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Hands and Treasury chief Philip Hammond said in separate TV appearances that the cladding used on Grenfell seems to be prohibited by British regulations.
"Frankly, the support on the ground for families who needed help or basic information in the initial hours after this appalling disaster was not good enough", she said.
The Government's £5 million emergency fund is already being spent on clothing and food to help the dispossessed and NHS London will provide counselling and bereavement support to families.
In an interview with the BBC, May promised a public inquiry into the disaster and pledged that survivors would be rehoused within weeks.
"When an existing building is undergoing a renovation, upgraded fire safety measures may be required depending on the type of insulation and cladding proposed as part of the renovation", he said.
Mohammed Alhajali, who was 23 and a civil engineering student, was the first victim to be named.
He said: "As the mayor of London I will do my bit to be the advocate, to be the fighter, and to be the champion of these people".
Officials are using dental records, fingerprints and DNA samples to try and positively identify victims.
Sixteen bodies have been taken to the mortuary after flames tore through the 1970s tower block - while 14 others have been recovered from the building.
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