tv BBC News at Six BBC News June 15, 2017 6:00pm-6:30pm BST
tonight at six — the number of people killed the number of people killed in the london tower block fire is now 17 — and it's set to rise. specialists are making the grenfell tower safe enough for fire crews to recover the victims. we know there will be more. it's the upper floors that will be more challenging and we will need some additional shoring for us to be able to get in there. the size of this building, it could take weeks. i want to be realistic. this is a very long process. the writing on the wall tells its own story — dozens of people are still listed as missing jessica is a 12—year—old vibrant young girl who will turn 13 next month. she's a lovely little girl with a bubbly personality. we're just worried and concerned about her and we just want her home. it happened in front of their eyes — first there was shock, then there was grief — now residents want answers . at the moment, we're grieving. but there is a public anger underneath and we do want to see someone held accountable for this. theresa may visited the scene
today and then announced a full public inquiry. we need to know what happened. we need to have an explanation of this. we owe that to the families, to the people who have lost loved ones, friends, and the homes in which they lived. they went in when others were running out — how are the firefighters coping with what they're calling a once—in—a—lifetime fire? we'll have the latest from here in west london in this extended programme. stay with bbc news throughout the day for all developments from our london correspondents from the scene at the london tower block fire. good evening and welcome to the bbc news at six from west london.
behind me, grenfell tower — its 2a storeys now just a charred shell. once home to hundreds of people — today it's an ugly reminder of a tragedy that many people around here believe could have been avoided. the scale of that tragedy is becoming much clearer. seventeen people are now confirmed dead — but the police believe the final figure will be higher. the first victim has been named by friends and family as mohammed alhajali — a syrian refugee who came to the country in 2014. this afternoon, theresa may has announced a public inquiry. it follows growing anger among residents here. the queen has sent a message of sympathy. our first ourfirst report on our first report on this devastating fire is from our home editor.
slowly, inch by painstaking inch, fire officers continued their grim and dangerous work. amid the blackened shell of what was once home to hundreds are some who did not make it out. exactly how many, we do not know that the emergency services are warning the scale of the tragedy is yet to become clear. sadly i can confirm the number of people who have died is now 17. we do believe that number will sadly increase. there are 37 people receiving treatment of which 17 are still in critical care. the agony of a wounded neighbourhood is written ona a wounded neighbourhood is written on a wall, the desperation of people searching forfamily on a wall, the desperation of people searching for family and friends. prayers and solace from near and far. for the past two days jason garcia has been searching for his 12—year—old cousinjessica.”
garcia has been searching for his 12-year-old cousin jessica. i feel helpless. we are hoping that, by putting up posters, sharing her image on social media, and talking to people like yourself, that maybe someone to people like yourself, that maybe someone with information will get in touch. syrian refugee mohammed alhajali, an engineering student seeking a better life in britain was named by his family as having died in the fire. people crave answers, but complain of delays and evasion. at the moment we are grieving, but there is a bubbling anger underneath and we want to see somebody held accountable for this. the love and generosity that has poured into north kensington cannot make up for the numbing sense of loss. the prime minister made a private visit today, speaking to emergency workers before announcing a full public inquiry into what went wrong. when i spoke to the emergency services they told
me the way this fire progressed and took hold of the building was rapid and ferocious and unexpected. we have to get to the bottom of this. the labour leaderjeremy corbyn also went to north kensington, insisting he would speak up for the community. shock and grief are joined by outrage and anger. the question is raining down, like the charred lumps of cladding, which locals hold up as possible evidence that people were housed in a preventable death trap. this tower block fire looks just like north kensington. they came in and said evacuate. it was three yea rs and said evacuate. it was three years ago in melbourne australia and the similarities do not stop there. we have never seen the similarities do not stop there. we have never seen a the similarities do not stop there. we have never seen a fire developing this way. in my 29 years in the london fire brigade i have never seen london fire brigade i have never seena fire london fire brigade i have never seen a fire of this nature. we never expected to see a high—rise fire that would spread so quickly from
the eighth to the 21st floor. in london the fire raged from the ground to the 24th floor in less than half an hour. attention in australia focused on aluminium cladding, in enquiry blaming cheaper plastic backed cladding. the same distinction is being made about g re nfell tower, distinction is being made about grenfell tower, although the authorities insist regulations were followed. the london mayor sadiq khan was heckled by a group of people on a visit to grenfell tower today. feelings are running high. understandably, residents are angry and concerned and have genuine questions that demand answers and so whereas. .. questions that demand answers and so whereas... deaths could have been prevented! the concerns are notjust about what went wrong in north kensington, they are also about what could go wrong in thousands of tower
blocks in britain. residents in trellix tower who can see grenfell tower from their balconies now have a reminder of the risks of high—rise living. it's coming up to 48 hours since the fire began in grenfell tower and still there is no real sense of exactly how many people might have fallen victim to the inferno. in fact, in the last hour, police say they may never be able to identify all those who died. if you walk around the streets here, or visit the temporary shelters you will see handwritten posters listing the names of loved ones that have not yet been found. our special correspondent lucy manning reports now on two families' desperate search for relatives. a warning — you may find some of the details distressing. mohammed hakim fears he's lost everyone. his mother, father, two brothers and sister. all his extended family supporting him now rushed to the fire when the calls
of panic came. i spoke to her, the last few words she said to me was, please forgive me if i've said anything to upset you or hurt you. i don't think we're going to make it out of the building. they were supposed to be celebrating next month. his sister, huzna, was getting married, but the entire family were trapped on the 17th floor. and they were reciting from the koran. it was just heartbreaking, and then it cut out. and then i rang huzna. she was, like, we're not going to make it. we can't make it because there's flames under the door. there's flames under the door... i kept saying, try and put things under the door to stop the smoke coming in and get as low as you can come and open the windows. someone's going to come, callthe fire brigade, do something. and then she stopped talking. all i could hear was this crackling noise in the background, because the phone was still on,
but she wasn't saying anything. the not knowing is killing me. i really need to find out where they are. the family stood helpless outside, unable to rescue them. this is the worst thing i remember in my life. i saw my uncle, from the 17th floor. he opened the window. he kept shouting, please, help us, get us out. he was saying allah's name, and all this. i kept looking at him, helpless. mohammed, it must be extremely difficult, just not knowing? not losing one member of my family, but losing all five, the whole family. i don't have my parents any more and you only get one set of parents in this world. i had three siblings. they are all gone, in a couple of hours, after leaving their house, they are all gone. and no—one wants to give us any information about their whereabouts, if they are still within the building, or not.
they still have hope, but feel bereft of help. adel is another relative deep in grief and frustration. baby leena, just six months old, is missing, along with her mum, farah, and her dad, omar. they eventually found two of the baby's sisters in hospital. we found one of the children there, the younger. my brother is looking around, and he is staring at another bed. asks farrah‘s older sister to have a look. farrah‘s older sister says, that's the other child, that's the older one. they were beds apart and nobody in authority was making any effort to identify them. you've had to do this for yourself? we've had to do it ourselves. so many families here are looking, hoping, dreading the news that may come. lucy manning, bbc news, west london. it's something we have
become all too familiar with in the last few weeks — the list of those who are still unaccounted for. this is a wretched time for families and friends — hoping for the best, but fearing the worst. our correspondent reports on those still missing in the grenfell tower fire. hour by hour, the roll call of the missing lengthens. friends and relatives, desperate for information, have posted photos and messages on social media. khadija saye is a 24—year—old photographer whose work is on show at the venice biennale. she lived on the 20th floor with her mother, mary mendy. both are missing. fatima, mirna, and three—year—old zainab choucair also lived on the 20th floor of grenfell tower with their parents and grandmother. all six are missing.
with their parents and grandmother. jessica urbano is 12. with their parents and grandmother. she too lived on the 20th floor. with their parents and grandmother. her father was visiting friends lower down and couldn't get back when the fire started. she was out of the flat at 1:30am. she was only making her way down with some people and her phone cut off. jessica is a 12—year—old, vibrant young girl who's going to be turning 13 next month. she's a lovely little girl with a bubbly personality, and we are just worried and concerned about her and we just want her home. we want her back now. gloria trevisan, an architect, and her partner, marco gottardi, are from italy. they had only recently moved into the 23rd floor. they were unable to get out and called the relatives around 4am to say smoke was rising. a family lawyer said there was no hope of finding them alive. more names, more faces. possibly dozens more
are still to come. behind every picture, there is a family, friends and loved ones searching, hoping, and in some cases already grieving. fergus walsh reporting. we can go to scotla nd fergus walsh reporting. we can go to scotland yard now. i gather the police have been giving an update on the investigation. yes, and they are warning it will be a very long and difficult process. the building of g re nfell tower difficult process. the building of grenfell tower is still so dangerous fire officers and police cannot get into some parts of the building to find out how many bodies are there. they managed to recover six bodies thee" $3371.33? iii ﬁifeeﬁt‘e f' 51.52, eli ig thee" $3571.35? 5331 $57,551.35 f' 51.52, 131515 ig in11 thee" $3571.35? 5331 $57,551.35 f' 51.52, 131515 ig in 11 bodies they have found are but in 11 bodies they have found are
still in the building and they believe the number of bodies in the building will be much higher, significantly higher. detective saying they hope that the final death toll will not reach triple figures. then the process of identifying people will be difficult because of the damage to some of the bodies from the fire. they will rely on dental records and many people who lived in grenfell tower were recent immigrants and might not have been to the dentist here. detectives are worried they may never identify some victims who died. they have taken 5000 - to the casualty taken 5000 calls to the casualty bureau and 200 officers from eight forces are working through information, calling people back to check if anything has changed, but detectives are warning it will take weeks, if not longer, to work out exactly who has died in the fire. daniel, thank you. if you are still
looking for information there is an emergency number for anyone concerned about loved ones. the police casualty bureau can be reached on 0800 0961233. as we've seen there's plenty of anger and frustration here. it will be the job of the public inquiry announced by the prime minister to provide the answers to the questions on everyone's lips. how was the fire able to take hold in just minutes. what about thousands of other high—rise residential buildings around the country? 0ur science editor david shukman looks at what more can be done to improve safety in tower blocks. the london fire has triggered concern right across the country. in belfast, fire safety leaflets are being handed out by the housing authority. suddenly there's intense scrutiny at every detail of the arrangements to cope with the fire. and while there are questions
about all tower blocks, the key focus is on ones that have been fitted with cladding. all day there's been pressure from safety experts for every council building to be made safer with sprinklers. people don't die in sprinkler buildings. a single death in a sprinkler building is a very, very extremely rare event anywhere in the world. multiple death is almost unheard of. one of many tragic aspects of this tower block disaster is that for years experts have warned of the dangers of fire. back in 2013, a coroner called for sprinklers to be fitted to existing council tower blocks. a fire in south london had killed six people, but the recommendation wasn't followed and sprinklers are usually only installed in new buildings. next, having just one staircase — like in grenfell tower — has repeatedly been criticised as a hazard, limiting the chance for people to escape and for firefighters to get in. and there have long been concerns about cladding,
the panels fitted outside the buildings. these are usually metal with a layer of insulating material. back in 1991, the rules about them were tightened, but regulations do not require that the panels should never burn. doesn't go far enough. intensified the blaze there eight years ago. an architect who gave evidence at the inquest of the six people who died there says promises of action led nowhere. he fears the same could happen again this time. what are politicians for? when something like lakanal house happens, they are all eager to go on television saying "lessons will be learned, our thoughts are with the families" and so on, but then nothing happens. it may be that the horror at grenfell tower will bring real
change but it will be a monumental task. and in the meantime the company that did the refurbishment work, rydon, says that it met all regulations and now welcomes the public inquiry. david shukman, bbc news. as we've heard, both theresa may and jeremy corbyn were here today. in parliament, mps have been questioning nick hurd, the government minister responsible for the fire service. he described the grenfell tower fire as a "national tragedy". the labour mp david lammy, who's friend in the tower block is still missing, has called for a criminal investigation. in an emergency, who's in charge? the prime minister met firefighters who have given everything at grenfell, but none of the families that have lost everything they had. she met volunteers on the ground,
but returning to number 10, the focus today, getting help to those that need it. the government stands ready to provide every assistance necessary to the emergency services and to the local authority. i know we've all heard absolutely heartbreaking, as i did this morning, heartbreaking stories of the people that were caught up in this terrible, terrible tragedy. the labour leader was on hand in a local church, hearing fears... somebody has to be held accountable, somebody has to be held responsible. we do not want this kicked into the long grass. we do not want the government to hide this with some hollow platitudes that lessons will be learned. ..and anger. give them hell. give them absolute hell. they knew. they knew that grenfell was unsafe. they knew that. we cannot allow people to live in a dangerous state, and that is a worry, but the resources have to be found
and we will demand and make sure those resources are found. with worries for people who live in similar blocks and so much still unknown, mps demanded a meeting with ministers. when we talk about this as a tragedy, we're talking about it as if it's an act of god. the truth is, it wasn't some natural disaster. this is a man—made disaster. we look to you both, as ministers, to leave no stone unturned in getting justice and getting to the bottom of this. it's really important that there is utter clarity today about whether people should stay in their flats in the event of another horrific fire, which could happen this afternoon, as we speak here, or whether they should leave. the government did promise all the survivors would get new homes near the tower. we have to act and think as if it was our friends, our family in that block. we have to have that emotional connection with what is going on, because there is no room for cool, detached, plodding bureaucracy. yet only those that lost their beds,
their homes and their loved ones can ever truly know. 0ur political editor laura kuenssberg is in westminster. laura, we barely understand this tragedy, but it's already becoming a political issue. it certainly is. an incident on this scale, it has been described by government ministers today is a national disaster. it is an emergency of such gravity with the death toll expected to rise that it has already become a significant issue for the government and of course at a very volatile time. the first priority however is to focus on getting needed. they have announced this afternoon a scheme where they will provide extra cash for the council to make sure they have enough resources to deal with the immediate situation, and they want to get on with having a full public inquiry,
theresa may announcing that pretty rapidly. that will be led by a judge and it will get going pretty soon. there are layers of accountability in terms of figuring out what happened, the housing association, the company involved in doing the refurbishment, the council and the government. but there is no question, the handling of such an awful on sensitive situation is very risky for the politicians and it may well be that once this inquiry gets up well be that once this inquiry gets up and running that are very uncomfortable truth emerges here at westminster. potentially some people expect it may show that notjust this government but previous governments have simply not done enough to make sure this kind of housing is safe and that when looking at regulations, safety has not been taken seriously enough. those results will only be known in the course of time, but there is a sense here that of course the emergency is most immediate and most
awfulfor emergency is most immediate and most awful for the people who have emergency is most immediate and most awfulfor the people who have been caught up in it, but the eventsjust a couple of miles from here are also a couple of miles from here are also a big political challenge. laura, thank you very much. ijust want i just want to show you these pictures, this is a fire service drone and it has been running up and down .facade drone and it has been running up and down - facade of grenfell tower. down the facade of grenfell tower. remember right now what the specialists are trying to do is specialists are tryingjéeder how specialists are tryincheeer how safe the building is establish how safe the building is for the fire crews to go in and begin the recovery operation. so that has been happening while you have been watching the reports from laura and listening to laura. we have seen that drone systematically going from window to window and just checking out. within hours of the fire breaking out, the streets around here were filled with tables covered in food, water and clothes for those that have lost absolutely everything. in fact, there have been so many offers that some temporary shelters have had to turn donations away. 0ur correspondent elaine dunkley
is at the latimer road community centre in west london. generosity is keeping this community together, and still more things are arriving. last night and today there was a constant stream of people donating food, clothing and offering time. right now there are people packing boxes and more things are still arriving. the message for now is no more perishable foods but charities in this area desperately need vans and storage. it is resident in this community who have taken such an active role in trying to organise the goods but there has been criticism that the council could do more to coordinate collections. from all over the country, donations are arriving, boxes of food and clothing. this is the al—manaar mosque. many have not slept since the fire destroyed homes. we are working under an umbrella of humanity, which is absolutely amazing. so that communities
do come together. there are muslim people donating to churches, and i was one of them, there were christian people donating to mosques. wherever is easier and closer. it's just a network of not races, not colours, not anything, just us being humans. many people felt helpless as they watched the tower block on fire. donating food and clothes is helping this community heal. i'm from new york. i lived in new york when the towers came down. it was very reminiscent of that. just, generally, you want to help, you want to do whatever you can. but as well as generosity, there is frustration that food and clothes are being left on the street. we're trying to create a central base here. niles is a local resident. he's organised a sorting facility to take collections. we don't want any bags left on the street that's been sent from people's hearts.
i don't think people need to send so much stuff any more, but people need to support the community in whatever capacity that they have. in the midst of this horror and destruction, there's a bit of beauty, you know? there's a bit of upliftment, a bit of seeing that we have a lot of resources, human resources. please stop, just stop. clothes are going here, food only is going there. as more boxes arrive, those who are trying to help are feeling overwhelmed and say the council could do more to organise collections, volunteers and storage. it's been a united front here. but i've got to say, the council sort of dragged their feet a lot. they should have done a lot more. we've just come to help, and there hasn't been any contingency plans, there hasn't been any strategies. i've got a week off, and i've just given my time to do what needs doing. but there are so many people here,
and i'mjust waiting for somebody to tell me what to do. the local authority says it is trying to manage donations, but says the priority is finding homes for vulnerable families. how do you respond to the criticism from people around here that the council hasn't done enough to help? well, i'm sorry there is that criticism. in fact, we were very quick to set up three emergency centres around the tower. they are staffed by council staff, who have expertise in looking after younger people, older people with particular needs, disabled people. tonight, most residents are in temporary accommodation. for now there are enough provisions. what people need is a roof over their heads. and as well as donations of course, people have been offering emotional support. we can see a wall of tributes, people from all faiths and backgrounds coming together to have a moment to think about the people
who live in this community and the people who are trying to work so ha rd people who are trying to work so hard together to stay strong. we have seen so hard together to stay strong. we have seen so many hard together to stay strong. we have seen so many flowers and as the day has gone on, they have had to put up more boards so people can leave messages of sentiment. for this community it is a difficult time and people are doing so much just to keep everyone together and to offer thoughts and prayers. elaine, thank you very much. amidst the devastation, stories of bravery are emerging. mere thanqqq firefighters tackled the building when it was still burning as they tried to help those who were trapped. and their work isn't over — they're now involved in the recovery operation. 0ur correspondent sarah campbell r515545 55 $55 fir5fi§h§§5r5ﬁ 7” 7 "7 ”77" fire has had on them. hero! this guy, look at that, hero! it's impossible to imagine how
anyone would willingly run into this but that's exactly what more than 200 firefighters did. the main thing with this building on the night was the speed the fire moved from the bottom to top and the thick black bettemtertep and—therrthickrblaeie that filled the air, filled smoke that filled the air, filled the building. there were real challenges for us. we have people quite rightly wanting to get out of the building. have you ever seen a fire like it? i have never seen a fire like it? i have never seen a fire of this scale in my whole career. i have fire of this scale in my whole career. i have seen fire of this scale in my whole career. i have seen lots of fires in the london fire brigade but nothing on this scale. exhausted, having spent hours tackling a fire that has been described as unprecedented in its scale and the work is far from over. now comes the tasks of making the building safe enough for search and recovery. you have a chance to speak to some of those involved, how are they doing if not physically, mentally? i have spoken to quite a
few people, they are ok. the main thing is that they are tired but they are so keen to ensure we com plete they are so keen to ensure we complete thejob. they are so keen to ensure we complete the job. they were on duty againa lot complete the job. they were on duty again a lot of them last night, some will be on duty again tonight and they want to come back and assist. tha nkfully they want to come back and assist. thankfully only a handful