The Latest: Evacuated London residents express anger, fear

June 23, 2017 • World News

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on London’s public housing tower fire on June 14 that has killed at least 79 people (all times local):
10:10 p.m.
Residents of a public housing complex being evacuated in north London because of fire safety concerns say they are both angry and frightened about being forced from their homes.
Resident Michelle Urquhart says she’s angry because residents were assured as late as Thursday that the problem was being addressed.
The Camden Council decided to empty about 800 households in five buildings it owns on Friday. Expedited inspections heightened concerns about exterior insulation panels like the ones on Grenfell Tower, a high-rise where a June 14 fire killed at least 79 people.
Resident Shirley Philips, who lives in one of the evacuated buildings, told British broadcaster she was given no notice before she was asked to pack up and leave.
She says: “Why have they left it ’til half past eight on Friday night to start getting residents out? Where do they think we’re all going?”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan says there was a “particular set of circumstances on this estate that make this necessary.”
9:35 p.m.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has tweeted that her thoughts are with hundreds of public housing residents who are being evacuated because of fire safety concerns.
May said Friday that “she will work with and support the emergency services and relevant authorities to safeguard the public.”
She says she asked the country’s secretary for communities and local government to keep her updated on “ensure we are offering every support we can to residents & those working onsite.”
The northwest London borough of Camden announced Friday that is evacuating 800 households in five buildings it owns during renovations that are expected to take two to three weeks.
The move was prompted after the Camden Council learned that the buildings had combustible cladding like the one on Grenfell Tower, where at least 79 people died in a fast-moving fire last week.
8:55 p.m.
The London borough of Camden says it has begun evacuating 800 households in tower blocks after fire authorities said they could not guarantee the safety of residents following a devastating fire in a high-rise in a nearby area.
Camden council leader Georgia Gould told Sky News Friday that a rest center has been set up and that hotels were being found for residents.
She says the move came after firefighters said they “could not guarantee our residents safety.”
Camden is one of the councils in England which has learned that combustible cladding has been placed on buildings during renovation projects, though they also had fire-resistant cladding.
Gould says the repair work is expected to take two to three weeks.
6 p.m.
London firefighters and emergency workers who battled the Grenfell Tower blaze have been leaving messages and tributes to the victims at a makeshift memorial near the charred apartment block.
Heartbreaking messages written on red London Fire Brigade T-shirts offer poignant tributes alongside flowers, toys and candles. At least 79 people died in the June 14 fire, which engulfed the building so quickly overnight that firefighters were unable to reach many of the victims.
One tribute, from a firefighter from a station in the Kensington and Chelsea borough read: “20th floor, we tried… we’re sorry.” Another firefighter wrote “Our hearts go out to everyone touched by this tragedy. We did our best I promise.”
One shirt bearing the London Ambulance Service logo said: “We refuse to forget you.”
3 p.m.
London police are considering filing manslaughter charges related to the fire at a west London apartment tower that killed at least 79 people.
The Metropolitan Police on Friday confirmed residents’ suspicions that the June 14 inferno at Grenfell Tower was touched off by a refrigerator fire. The department also said exterior cladding attached to the 24-story public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators, and that police have seized documents from a number of organizations.
Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack told reporters that “we are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards … We are looking at all health and safety and fire safety offenses, and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.”
The government has ordered an immediate examination of the refrigerator model that started the blaze. McCormack said the Hotpoint model FF175BP refrigerator-freezer had not been subject to any product recalls before the fire.
12:05 p.m.
Downing Street has ordered an immediate examination of the model of refrigerator that is believed to have sparked last week’s Grenfell Tower fire that killed at least 79 people.
Metropolitan Police Detective Supt. Fiona McCormack said the Hotpoint FF175BP fridge-freezer had not been subject to any product recall.
The fire spread quickly through the tower block, leading to concerns that cladding on the building did not meet fire safety rules.
11:30 a.m.
London Police say manslaughter charges are among moves being considered over the Grenfell Tower fire that killed at least 79 people.
Metropolitan Police Detective Supt. Fiona McCormack says authorities are “looking at every health and safety and fire safety offense and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.”
McCormack also repeated calls for anyone with information on who might have been in the tower to come forward. The call comes after London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s pledge to seek an amnesty for people who may have been living in the tower illegally.
McCormack says: “What we haven’t got is a picture of how many people might have been in there. That’s the number I’m really worried about.”
10:50 a.m.
British police investigating the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London in which 79 people are believed to have died say the blaze started in a fridge freezer. They added that insulation and tiles recovered from the building have failed fire safety tests.
Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack says officers have seized documents in the investigation into the fire.
“What we are being told at the moment by the Building Research Establishment is that the cladding and insulation failed all safety tests,” she told reporters Friday.
8:55 a.m.
British authorities are studying samples of similar to that used on the west London apartment building that caught fire, killing at least 79 people.
Eleven buildings have now been identified as having combustible cladding such as that used on the Grenfell Tower. The cladding is being studied amid fears that the panels fueled the fire in the 24-story building that was engulfed in less than an hour.
Buildings in London, Manchester and Plymouth are among those where problem cladding has been identified.
Fears about cladding is not limited to apartment buildings, and at least one hotel chain is calling in experts to make certain it meets safety regulations. Premier Inn said Friday it had “concerns” about the material on some of its buildings, though it is different to the type used on Grenfell.

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