London Fire's Death Toll Up to 30
"I want to be realistic, we are likely to have crews working at the scene for many days to come. We do not yet know what caused the fire. We do not know where it started and we do not know why it spread in the way that it did. Investigations have started but it is too soon to say any more," London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said June 15.
London officials reported 30 deaths have been confirmed so far in the Grenfell Tower high-rise fire in the city, but 70 people remain unaccounted for and the death toll is expected to increase. Twenty firefighters, six fire engines, and other specialist resources remained at the scene of the fire June 16. Firefighters were able to rescue 65 people from the building.
"Sadly, we are not expecting to find any more survivors, and the operation is now one of recovery rather than rescue. We realize that a lot of people are still incredibly concerned about their loved ones who are still unaccounted for and our priority is to do the best for those waiting for news of their relatives and friends," London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said. "Our specialist urban search and rescue crews are currently 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. This will be a slow and painstaking process which will require a large amount of shoring up work inside the building, especially on the upper floors, which will be the most challenging for us to access and search.
"I want to be realistic, we are likely to have crews working at the scene for many days to come. We do not yet know what caused the fire. We do not know where it started and we do not know why it spread in the way that it did. Investigations have started but it is too soon to say any more."
Firefighters and the gas authority isolated a ruptured gas main in the block overnight and then were able to extinguish the fire, which was under control by 1:14 a.m., according to the London Fire Brigade's latest update.
"This was a tragic and unprecedented fire, and our thoughts remain with all those affected by it. As I have stated many times, I have never experienced anything like this in my career," she said. "However, I have taken enormous strength from the amazing response from all my staff and the response of the other emergency services who continue to be involved in the response to the incident."
The brigade is using urban search and rescue dogs June 15 to help identify anything around the 24-story building that may help confirm the identify of those still inside. The London Ambulance Service has confirmed 37 people have been admitted to hospitals, 17 of them still in critical condition.