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Some Grenfell Tower fire victims 'may never be identified'

16 June 2017

"Our specialist urban search and rescue (USAR) crews are now working to make the block safe so our firefighters can continue to progress throughout the building, making a detailed, fingertip search, for anyone who may still be inside".

"Our absolute priority for all of us is identifying and locating those that are missing", Cmdr.

"Sadly I can confirm that the number of people who have died is now 17", London police commander Stuart Cundy told reporters.

Southwark Council has provided reassurance to its residents, as well as outlining the fire safety measures it has carried out since the Lakanal House fire in the borough in 2009, which claimed the lives of six people. The blaze created a panic, with residents scrambling to get out before being overcome by smoke and flames.

Parents wrapped wet towels around their children as they tried to escape, with others seen desperately waving for help from the higher floors.

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At least 12 people perished yesterday and many more are still missing after a massive inferno tore through a London apartment block, with witnesses reporting terrified people had leapt from the 24-storey tower. When I visited the scene, when I spoke to the emergency services, they told me that the way this fire progressed was rapid, it was ferocious and it was unexpected.

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: "There will be an investigation but at this stage I do not want to speculate about the cause of the fire or what has caused it to spread in the way that it did".

Lawyer Maria Cristina Sandrin said Thursday that the mother let her hear several recordings of phone calls that Gloria Trevisan, who lived on the 23rd floor of the Grenfell Tower with her Italian boyfriend, made to her home in Italy while the fire raged.

"Before we do that, we are going to utilise some specialist dog training teams that we have, that will go through the building and the surrounding area looking for any identification of people". The site says the addition of cladding in 2015 had a plastic core that was more flammable than an alternative.

The partial collapse of Ronan Point Tower in east London in 1968 led to an overhaul of building regulations.

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Still, the political fallout from the tragedy intensified as Members of Parliament demanded to know why fire safety standards at the tower had not been more rigorous.

Meanwhile, 44 households were given emergency accommodation. They were told that heavy fire doors would keep the fire at bay and allow them to be rescued within an hour but the blaze raged so rapidly that most of those who obeyed the "stay put" instruction were later unable to escape. It was as silent as it could be.

Government ministers were warned about the fire risk of cladding as far back as 1999, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Speaking in Downing Street, Mrs May said: "When it's possible to identify the cause of this fire, then of course there will be proper investigation and if there are any lessons to be learnt they will be, and action will be taken".

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The renovation project included installation of insulated exterior cladding , double-glazed windows and a communal heating system. One officer was in tears after seeing someone plunge out a window, Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton told Sky News .