Grenfell Tower: death toll rises to 17 after London fire

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At least 17 people have died after a fire engulfed a west London block of flats, with more than 30 more people still in hospital.

The fire spread and ripped through the Grenfell Tower on Wednesday morning, as more than 200 firefighters tried to bring the blaze under control.

The fire was finally extinguished by 01:14 on Thursday morning, after burning for more than 24 hours.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Sixty firefighters remain on the scene, but the fire service warned they do not expect to find any more survivors in the ashes, and the number of fatalities may still rise.

Speaking from the scene London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said:

“Sadly we are not expecting to find any more survivors and the operation is now one of recovery rather than rescue. We realise 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.

“Our specialist urban search and rescue (USAR) 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.

“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. 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.”

Londoners have reacted with compassion and donated food, clothes, and blankets for those left without homes after the blaze.

Kensington and Chelsea Council said 44 households have already been placed in emergency accommodation.

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