Authorities have declared that there are no more survivors in the London tower that caught fire Tuesday morning. The 27-story building found itself in a massive blaze, which spread too quickly for many to escape.
The official death toll as of this morning is 17, but authorities expect it to rise as they begin the harrowing task of looking for bodies.
Apparently, the landlords and owners of the building had been warned before over the wall cladding, which is highly flammable.
Fire expert Mr Webb described the state of Britain’s tower blocks as a “disaster waiting to happen”. He told the Guardian: “We discovered a widespread breach of safety, but were simply told nothing could be done because it would make too many people homeless.”
The Daily Mail reports:
The study, carried out by architect Sam Webb, found that half of the buildings inspected did not meet basic fire safety regulations.
Fire expert Mr Webb described the state of Britain’s tower blocks as a ‘disaster waiting to happen’. He told the Guardian: ‘We discovered a widespread breach of safety, but were simply told nothing could be done because it would make too many people homeless.’
Fears have since emerged that new plastic cladding was a main factor in the fire and caused the tower to ‘light up like a matchstick’.
The rain-proof cladding was installed at the block in White City, west London, in May 2016 as part of a £10million refurbishment but claims say it helped the fire spread quickly from the fourth to 24th floor.
The former chairman of the tenancy organisation connected to Grenfell said the fire was a ‘scandal’ that could have been avoided.
Reg Kerr-Bell said he stood down from the Kensington and Chelsea Tenancy Management Organisation (KTMO) several years ago over his concerns about the way it was run.
He said: ‘This is a scandal. This is one of the biggest scandals in the country – and it could have been avoided.’
He added: ‘This refurbishment contract should never have been managed by KTMO. It was too big for them. My great concern was about the viability of the project.’
He said he met a former director two days ago to discuss his concerns.
Mr Kerr-Bell added: ‘We felt there was a disaster waiting to happen and we were going to have a meeting with the MP so that we could put these concerns to them.
‘That was two days ago and today he phoned me and said: ‘You will not believe what is going on’.
‘It is not going to finish with this – this is just the start.’
Bodies were strewn through Grenfell Tower including in its lobby and undertakers were seen removing the dead in a delicate and treacherous recovery operation set to last several days.
It is believed that the death toll could reach more than 100, but police have said it is not possible to confirm how many people are unaccounted for because the building is still on fire nearly 24 hours after it started.