LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the London high-rise tragedy (all times local):
Two British ministers say the cladding used in a renovation of Grenfell Tower may have been banned under U.K. building regulations.
Experts believe the exterior cladding, which contained insulation, helped spread the flames quickly along the outside of the tower in the Wednesday morning blaze that has killed at least 58 people.
The government is carrying out an “urgent inspection” of roughly 2,500 similar tower blocks across the country to assess their safety. Trade Minister Greg Hands and Treasury chief Philip Hammond said in separate TV appearances that the cladding used on Grenfell seems to be prohibited by British regulations.
One opposition lawmaker urged the Conservative government and police to immediately seize all documents related to the tower renovation.
Britain’s trade minister says the exterior paneling used on the exterior of the London high-rise, in which dozens were killed in a fire, appears to have violated building rules.
Greg Hands told Sky News that “my understanding is that the cladding that was reported was not in accordance with U.K. building regulations. We need to find out precisely what cladding was used and how it was attached.”
Experts say the cladding and the insulation it contained seems to have spread the flames quickly along the exterior of the building, overwhelming safety devices like fire doors.
Hands cautioned Sunday that investigators still don’t know exactly what cladding was used when the building renovation was completed last year. The building was gutted by a fast-moving fire early Wednesday, claiming at least 58 lives.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has attended a church service near the ruined London high-rise apartment building where at least 58 people perished.
The mayor and his wife Saadiya joined the congregation Sunday at St. Clement’s Church near Grenfell Tower.
Flowers and posters of missing persons are still taped to the gates of the church, which has been used as a temporary shelter and gathering point for donations. Khan is London’s first Muslim mayor.
He says it may be necessary for many of the outmoded tower blocks built in the 1970s to be demolished because of safety concerns.
A prominent British Labour Party lawmaker is calling for police and the government to seize all documents relating to the renovation of a London high-rise destroyed by a fire that killed dozens of its residents.
David Lammy said Sunday he is worried that documents will be quietly deleted and disposed of as police begin a search for evidence.
Lammy said that “the prime minister needs to act immediately to ensure that all evidence is protected so that everyone culpable for what happened at Grenfell Tower is held to account and feels the full force of the law.”
He says tower residents who survived fear a cover-up will keep the truth from coming out. He says trust in the authorities is “falling through the floor.”
Police have said criminal prosecutors will be pursued if there is evidence of wrongdoing. Attention has focused on materials used during the renovation process completed last year.
The leader of Britain’s main opposition party is calling for the government to take over empty homes for use by residents displaced by the London high-rise fire.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Sunday the government has the power to take over empty apartments and offer them to the hundreds of Grenfell Tower residents left homeless in Wednesday’ inferno. He told ITV: “Occupy it, compulsory purchase it, requisition it – there’s a lot of things you can do.”
He said the situation has become an emergency and that “all assets” should be brought to the table. The government is struggling to find temporary housing for people who lived in the 24-story tower.
At least 58 people are believed to have died in the blaze.
British officials say they are helping the Syrian family of the first officially confirmed victim of the London tower blaze to come to Britain.
The Home Office said late Saturday night it will make arrangements for the family of Mohammad Alhajali to “travel to the U.K. in these terribly sad circumstances.”
The 23-year-old Alhajali is the only victim of the Grenfell Tower fire to be officially named as the difficult process of identifying human remains continues.
His family said in a statement that Alhajali “came to the U.K. because he had ambitions and aims for his life and for his family.”
Police say at least 58 people are either confirmed or presumed dead, with the figure likely to rise in coming days. Other victims have been named by their families.
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