Investigation into the fire at Grenfell Tower – At least 30 fatalities have been confirmed

Photo credit: London Fire Brigade

The investigation team is being drawn together to look at all aspects of how residents tragically lost their lives in this terrible fire at Grenfell Tower.

At least 30 fatalities have been confirmed; the bodies of twelve people have been recovered and are at a mortuary, which includes one person who sadly died at hospital, despite the best efforts of colleagues in the NHS.

The other deceased remain inside the building. Unfortunately, it is expected that the total will rise and it is not expected that any survivors will be found.

Detectives from across the Met, led by Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner of the Homicide and Major Crime Command will investigate what happened and why.

At this stage the Met can confirm that, following initial reports from specialist investigators and experts who have examined the flat where the fire started, there is nothing to suggest the fire was started deliberately.

However, like any investigation, it is the job of the police to establish all the facts and if any criminal offences have been committed.

The Met will work closely with the London Fire Brigade and the Health and Safety Executive, and it has been agreed that the police will take primacy of the investigation.

Commander Stuart Cundy said:

“It is very hard to find the words to express how those families affected must be feeling, and it is our job to work tirelessly to provide them with the answers they so richly deserve. This is a deeply distressing time and my thoughts remain with all those whose lives have been changed by this tragic incident.

“A priority of each and every one of us involved in the ongoing operation at Grenfell Towers is to recover and identify all the victims.

“Working with the Coroner and specialist detectives, using internationally recognised standards of identification, we will ensure that families are informed as soon as possible when we know beyond doubt that it is their loved one who has been identified.

“As I have said, that will be a complex process. Our efforts are focused on making sure we have family liaison officers supporting all those families where people are dead, critically ill in hospital or still unaccounted for.

“I’d urge anyone who has not yet been contacted by the police but is missing loved ones to either go to the reception centre at the Westway sports and leisure centre or call our Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233. This is really important so police liaison officers can directly support families.”

At this stage 24 people remain in hospital, 12 of whom are receiving critical care. Commander Cundy, added:

“The conditions inside Grenfell Tower mean that the search and recovery operation to find and recover the victims is extremely challenging. The upper floors of the block are particularly hazardous due to the damage caused by the fire. The sad reality is that this work will take some time, stretching into many, many weeks.

“We have specialist teams from the Police, London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service working closely together to do this as safely yet as swiftly as possible.

“Equally, our investigation will be complex and lengthy and will draw on some of our most experienced detectives from across the Met.

“We are determined to provide those families with detailed answers about the tragedy that has taken their loved ones from them and affected many others for the rest of their lives.”

Dedicated and specially trained family liaison officers are being drawn together from a wide range of units and commands.

As of 8am today, (Friday, 16 June), family liaison officers have been deployed to support 36 families. These include the families of those identified as deceased as well as those who are critically injured, and also families in cases where police have strong reason to believe that people reported as missing are very likely to be inside Grenfell Towers.

The number of deployments will increase throughout the course of today.

The Casualty Bureau continues to be staffed 24 hours a day. If someone you have reported missing has now been found please update us at the Westway sports and leisure centre in Crowthorne Road or via Casualty Bureau.