According to New York Times, The fire that incinerated a 24-story apartment tower in West London has claimed at least 30 lives, the authorities said on Friday, and they made a grim admission: A full accounting might be impossible because some victims may never be identified.
Since the blaze broke out on Wednesday morning, the death toll has steadily climbed: 6, 12, 17 and now 30. The police said the number would continue to rise. The BBC reported that the toll could reach 76.
“Sadly, we may not be able to identify everybody,” said Stuart Cundy, a Metropolitan Police commander, who expressed his hope — “from a personal perspective,” he emphasized — that the death toll would not climb above 100.
At an afternoon news conference, he said that the flames had at last been extinguished, but that the charred, ruined Grenfell Tower remained in a hazardous state and that it would be a long, painstaking task to sweep the building for remains.
Queen Elizabeth II and her grandson Prince William visited a sports center on Friday that has been turned into a place of grieving and support for victims of the fire and their families. Prime Minister Theresa May visited a hospital treating some of the injured, and made plans to return to the site of the fire; she had been criticized for meeting only rescue workers, not victims, during an earlier visit. The police said that they were opening a criminal investigation.
As of Friday morning, 24 patients remained in four hospitals, 12 in critical condition. Dozens of people remain unaccounted for.
The police said they were using dental records, fingerprints and DNA samples to identify victims, along with telltale features such as tattoos, scars, jewelry or distinctive clothing. But Commander Cundy said the intensity of the fire made the task of identifying victims slow and arduous at best: Some bodies were likely to be burned beyond recognition, if not reduced to ash.
Many traumatized relatives have turned to social media for help finding missing loved ones. Others have pasted desperate pleas and photographs on walls around the area.
Noha Baghdady, whose brother is missing, wrote on Facebook: “Another night without any confirmed information. We are emotionally exhausted, drained & our heart is broken. I’m not going to give up hope, please continue to share my brothers details… Hesham Rahman Age, 57 DOB: 30 January 1960 20th Floor Grenfell Tower Flat 204.”
Other notices show smiling women in hijabs, a black man with dreadlocks, young children and happy families, befitting a predominantly working-class building whose multicultural makeup reflected its city and neighborhood.
As the demand for answers grew, Mrs. May announced an inquiry into the tragedy, and the police said they were opening a criminal investigation, evidently to determine if negligence had led to the lethal blaze.