Tiles, insulation & fridge freezer blamed for Grenfell blaze

The UK government has ordered immediate checks on the Hotpoint FF175BP fridge freezer model blamed for the June 14 Grenfell Tower blaze in west London, which left 79 people presumed dead.

Grenfell tower investigation

Manslaughter charges could be filed over London's deadly tower blaze, police said after finding that exterior cladding on the building had failed safety tests and that the fire started with a faulty fridge. (AFP)

Hotpoint FF175BP fridge freezer model blamed for blaze

The government has ordered immediate checks on the Hotpoint FF175BP fridge freezer model blamed for the Grenfell tower blaze in west London, which left 79 people presumed dead.

Hotpoint-branded fridge freezers were manufactured by Indesit between 2006 and 2009, before Indesit was bought by current owner Whirlpool. (AFP)

Criminal offence

"We are addressing this as a matter of utmost urgency and assisting the authorities in any way we can," US-based Whirlpool said in a statement.

It also urged owners of Hotpoint fridge freezer models FF175BP or FF175BG to contact them "so that we can register their details and contact them with further information".

In an update on the investigation, Fiona McCormack from London's Metropolitan Police said: "We are looking at every criminal offence from manslaughter onwards." (AFP)

600 towers in England with similar cladding

Referring to the tiles and insulation on the outside of the building, which have been widely blamed for the rapid spread of the flames, she said: "All I can say at the moment is they don't pass any safety tests."

The cladding was installed on the 24-storey council-owned Grenfell Tower, which was built in 1974, as part of a refurbishment completed last year.

It has prompted a wider review of social housing which has identified at least 600 towers in England with similar cladding.

McCormack said police had also established that the fire started with a faulty fridge, identifying the Hotpoint model. (AFP)

Grenfell tower fire investigation

McCormack said police had also established that the fire started with a faulty fridge, identifying the Hotpoint model.

She said the model had not been subject to any product recall.

McCormack said police were investigating companies involved in the building and refurbishment of the tower, and possible "health and safety and fire safety offences".

She said all "complete bodies" had been removed and there was "a terrible reality that we may not find or identify everyone who died due to the intense heat."

She also repeated calls for any members of the public with information about people who may have been in the tower at the time of the blaze to contact the police.

Police fear the toll may be higher because some residents may have been living in the tower illegally.

"Our forensic search may not be complete until the end of the year," McCormack added. (AFP)

Theresa May's statement in Parliament

An independent public enquiry has been set up to investigate the reasons behind the Grenfell Tower Fire, as well as to run a safety check in all publicly-owned tower blocks in Britain.

"A number of these tests have come back as combustible," Prime Minister Theresa May informed in her statement to the parliament, further adding "We cannot and will not ask people to live in unsafe homes." (AFP)

'Additional fire safety checks on tower blocks'

"I know many others living in tall residential buildings will have concerns about their safety after what happened at Grenfell."

"All social landlords have been instructed to carry out additional fire safety checks on tower blocks and ensure the appropriate safety and response measures are in place," she said. (AFP)

Toll rises in Grenfell Tower blaze

Seventy-nine people are dead or missing and presumed dead following a devastating blaze in a London tower block last week, London police said today. (AFP)

'79 people dead or missing'

"As of this morning, I'm afraid to say there are now 79 people that we believe are either dead or missing and I sadly have to presume are dead," police commander Stuart Cundy told reporters.

Police had earlier put the toll at 58 presumed dead. (AFP)

'Incredibly distressing time for families'

He said only five people had been formally identified so far by police, after officers earlier warned that some may never be identified due to the condition of the remains.

Cundy said the search and recovery operation was ongoing in the burnt-out 24-storey tower.

"This is an incredibly distressing time for families and they have my commitment that we will do this as quickly as we possibly can," he said.

Cundy promised an "exhaustive" criminal investigation into the fire that would also look at a major refurbishment of the building completed last year. (AFP)

Grenfell Tower fire

A placard on a wall near the scene of the fire which destroyed the Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London. (Reuters)

Angry residents in London

Local residents hang a banner over a balcony following the fire which destroyed the Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London. (Reuters)

London Mayor at the scene of the fire

London Mayor Sadiq Khan listens to a woman at an event where he addressed a crowd of people near the scene of the fire which destroyed the Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London. (Reuters)

Firefighters stand tall

A firefighter is cheered near the scene of the fire which destroyed the Grenfell Tower block, west London.
(Reuters)

London mourns

People write on a wall after a prayer vigil outside Notting Hill Methodist Church close to the tower block severely damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London. (Reuters)

London building on fire

A person comforts his family close to the Grenfell Tower block in London. (Reuters)

27-storey tower on fire in London

27 storey Grenfell Tower engulfed in fire on early Wednesday morning. The fire spread from 2nd to the top floor. (Reuters)

27-storey London tower on fire

But this is not it, there have been a number of major fires over the years like the one at London Bridge in 1633, the Whitehall fire in 1698, the Parliament fire in 1834, the great fire of Tooley Street in 1861, the second great fire of London in 1940, and more till the Grenfell Tower fire on June 14.
(AFP)

27-storey tower on fire in London

200 firefighters, more than 40 ambulances were carried out rescue services. (Reuters)

27-storey tower on fire in London

"We can confirm that we have taken 30 patients to five London hospitals following the incident," said Stuart Crichton, assistant director of operations at the London Ambulance Service. (AFP)

27-storey tower on fire in London

Even after hours of the fire, smoke could still be seen rising from the blackened building, camouflaged in a layer of massive black smoke. (AFP)

27-storey tower on fire in London

Large pieces of debris could be seen falling from Grenfell Tower, a 1970s block in the working-class north Kensington area -- a short distance from chic Notting Hill. (Reuters)

27-storey tower on fire in London

"The potential for a fire to break out in the communal area on the walkway does not bear thinking about as residents would be trapped in the building with no way out," read a blog post by the Grenfell Action Group. (Reuters)

27-storey tower on fire in London

Ambulances stationed at the Grenfell Tower. "A number of people are being treated for a range of injuries," said the Police and Fire officers.
(AFP)

27-storey tower on fire in London

"This is a large and very serious incident and we have deployed numerous resources and specialist appliances," said the London Fire Brigade assistant commissioner Dan Daly. (Reuters)

27-storey tower on fire in London

Nearby buildings have been vacated and a section of highway A40 has been shut down. Some parts of underground train network were also closed as a precaution.
(Reuters)

27-storey tower on fire in London

Police said that they were called at 1:16 am, "to reports of a large fire at a block of flats in the Lancaster West Estate".
(AFP)

27-storey tower on fire in London

The apartment block was built in 1974 and the local residents were at a great risk as there was only one exit and entry. there have been warnings in the past about a potential risk of fire during improvement works. (Reuters)

27-storey tower on fire in London

"It's horrendous. The whole building is engulfed in flames. It's gone. It's just a matter of time before this building collapses", said the Actor and Writer Tim Downie who lives nearby. (AFP)