London fire death toll rises to 17, number expected to increase

Firefighters extinguished the last of the flames in the devastating west London blaze as they searched for more victims Thursday, a day after the high-rise apartment building fire that killed at least 17 people.

Queen Elizabeth II praised the firefighters' bravery, and their commissioner noted the trauma they had seen.

Smoke was still wafting out of the shell of the Grenfell Tower on Thursday morning, 30 hours after fire engulfed the building in the early hours of Wednesday and turned it into a huge flaming torch in a matter of minutes. Around 500 people were asleep when the fire ripped through after midnight on Monday. In addition, London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for an interim report on the fire to be published this summer.

"People deserve answers. The inquiry will give them that", said May, the Conservative leader who set aside her efforts to form a new government Thursday to visit the scene of the blaze.

Local residents say there had been repeated warnings about the safety of the building, which recently underwent an £8.7 million ($NZ15 million) exterior refurbishment, which included new external cladding and windows.

"We like to think of ourselves as "roughty, toughty" and heroes - they are heroes - but they have feelings".

The Prime Minister has vowed to hold an official investigation as to how the fire was caused.

The remains of a number of people are still inside the ruins of Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington.

Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy responded to speculation that the number dead could exceed 100, saying: "From a personal perspective, I really hope it isn't".

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And as lawmakers discussed increasing security, House Speaker Paul Ryan urged them to come together following in the incident. Bailey then threw a pitch that bounced before reaching the catcher, Roberto Clemente Jr.

On Thursday police also confirmed they had launched a criminal investigation into the matter.

The Government has triggered an emergency fund to help Kensington and Chelsea council meet the cost of the disaster. A tenants' group had complained for years about the risk of a fire. Standard versions use plastic such as polyethylene for the core, while more expensive variants use fire-resistant material. We're determined to stand squarely behind the affected communities. Is the same type of cladding being used on buildings here?

Almost 110 families made homeless from the blaze are being housed at hotels in west London. Churches and community centers are providing meals and support, and donations of clothing, toys and household supplies are flooding in.

The queen is meeting with volunteers Friday.

"I won't know that until we've gone through the full recovery from Grenfell Tower and we know exactly what we've got and I anticipate that is going to take a considerable period of time".

Forensic experts said the fire at Grenfell was so hot it could be compared to a cremation, which is going to make it hard to identify those who lost their lives.

Vanezis said the best chance to identify victims may be if firefighters find bits of teeth or bone, medical devices like pacemakers or artificial implants.

Even amid the chaos and the frustration, some found a moment to seek unity.

"Obviously, the longer people have to wait, especially finding out what happened to their loved ones, (that) can create anger", said Abdurahman Sayed, Chief Executive Officer of al-Manaar.

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