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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  June 16, 2017 12:30am-1:01am BST

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after the london tower block fire. so far there have been 17 confirmed fatalities, but that number is expected to rise as many are still missing. the last of the fires are being dampened down and specialist teams are now working inside the tower to secure parts of the building. prime minister theresa may has ordered a full public inquiry into the fire, saying people deserve answers as to why it spread so rapidly. the mayor of london, sadiq khan, said the judge chosen to lead the inquiry should publish an interim report this summer. doctors treating otto warmbier, the american student the annual us congressional baseball match is now under way. players paid tribute to the house majority whip, steve scalise, and three other people who were injured on wednesday in an attack on a group of republicans who were practising for the game. we are now continuing our special coverage of the aftermath of the deadly fire at the tower block in london. prime minister theresa may has
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ordered a full public inquiry, saying people "deserved answers" about why the blaze spread so rapidly. 17 people are known to have died at grenfell tower in north kensington. our correspondent katie razzall has spent thursday in the shadow of grenfell tower, speaking to people who have lost loved ones, and others whose friends and family members are still missing. yesterday about afternoon we were accommodated. that's where i live, 571. until the accommodated. that's where i live, 571. untilthe early accommodated. that's where i live, 571. until the early hours of wednesday morning, this man lived in g re nfell tower. wednesday morning, this man lived in grenfell tower. now his home is a hotel. he's haunted by what he saw that night and the neighbours he believes just can't have survived. that night and the neighbours he believesjust can't have survivedlj know for a fact they died and they are missing yet and being inside the
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building for this many hours, of course you are not going to live. he showed me his videos of the fire. this is where i found my mum and at the same time i think i've found my mum 1:30am, 15 minutes after... by then it's really on fire. this is then it's really on fire. this is the fire... he was leaving the cinema with his sister when his mother call from home to say their block was ablaze. he found her after an agonising wait. i try to go inside the building to save my mum andi inside the building to save my mum and i saw a firefighter going at the same time with me, he tapped me on the shoulder and he said only people can come out, no one is allowed to come in. i was, can come out, no one is allowed to come in. iwas, like, my mum is there and iran's and the first person i saw was my mum and i was so happy -- person i saw was my mum and i was so happy ——i person i saw was my mum and i was so happy —— i ran. happinessjust lasted for ten or 20 seconds, many people were on their phones talking live to their kids, wife. 0ne
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people were on their phones talking live to their kids, wife. one of them was iranian, he was telling his wife what to do. we told him... tell her to put something over her mouth and her daughter's mouth and get on the floor to avoid the gas, you know, to avoid the explosion. did they get out do you think? no. newsnight understands from a firefighter that went inside the building that they knew after iiam yesterday morning they'd be unlikely to find any more survivors. it was the worst they'd seen in all their yea rs of the worst they'd seen in all their years of firefighting. a block of around 600 inhabitants from diverse backgrounds still smoking today. more than 50% of them were muslims from morocco, turkey, iran, from somalia. there were english people, black people, black muslims. so what do we know of who lived in grenfell
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tower? iranian born sajad lived with his family in flat ten on the third floor, just a floor below where the fire is believed to have started. 0ther survivors include on the ninth —storey the moroccan family here of four who fled when the father of smelt smoke and woke up to see fla mes smelt smoke and woke up to see flames outside. from the 11th floor, this woman who escaped with her husband and three children when a friend called to tell her of the fire. it's the poor souls who are missing or dead that keep sajad awake at night. ijust can't close my eyes when i know people just died in front of me. you saw it, did you? yeah, i saw it, i saw peoplejumping out from the building. couldn't avoid looking at them. yesterday we heard of a family on the 21st floor. 20—year—old yasmin and his parents, brother and sister. relatives told newsnight there were rumours on
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social media a family is dead. officially they are still missing. this from a friend today. it breaks my heart because the thing is, social media is going out and they're saying he's confirmed this and he's confirmed that and that's not the case and these messages are going to family and friends and its distorting everything. no one in that tower has been confirmed. on the 14th floor lived syrian brothers, university student mohammed alhajali was overwhelmed by smoke and returned to their flat while his brother escaped. friends confirmed he perished after a long phone call home to a friend in syria. for two hours he was on the phone, he was absolutely terrified, he was scared, but he hope to the emergency services would get to him and two hours later he thought the fire has reached me now and i'm going to die. goodbye to my mum and
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my father, i love you, that was the last message from him. the names and faces of the missing residents of the tower give a snapshot into a diverse and tightknit community. 79—year—old filipino woman, a man originally from eritrea who was about to win an award for his work asa about to win an award for his work as a security guard. italians marco and gloria who moved into the 23rd floor just three and gloria who moved into the 23rd floorjust three months ago and five—year—old isaac schauer, who was lost in the chaos of the evacuation. this is a community anxiously waiting for news of loved ones and friends. they were warned today the police fear they may never identify all of those who have been killed. both theresa may and jeremy corbyn visited the area. at westminster, mps questioned the minister for policing and the fire service nick hurd. he described what happened here as a national tragedy. the labour mp david lammy, one of whose friends is still missing, called for a criminal investigation. our political editor
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laura kuenssberg reports on the political reaction. 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.
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..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 though 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. i would like to see
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the minister putting resources into the fire service to make sure they have the resources to do full inspections of all the other blocks across the country within the next week. 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. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, westminster. the prime minister may have announced a public inquiry but a review of building regulations covering fire safety promised by theresa may's chief of staff last year has still not been published. that review was ordered after the fatal lakanal house fire in 2009, a multi—storey block in which six people died. the coroner in the subsequent inquest said that the government
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should encourage providers of high rise housing to consider retrofitting sprinkler systems. there was none in grenfell, currently there are 4,000 tower blocks in the uk that don't have sprinklers. chris cook looks now at the possible part the building's cladding may have played in the fire's spread. one of the most important questions to answer quickly is, how many other buildings are at risk from fires of the sort that devastated the grenfell tower. right now, that's a very hard question to answer. to really understand the tragedy that unfolded this week in kensington, it may help to appreciate a success story from camden. back in 2012, there was a major fire on the 17th floor of the building behind me. a pensioner‘s flat was completely destroyed. but the fire didn't spread. it was contained by the walls and floors and the external features of the building.
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so the fire brigade were able to get here and stop it from getting into any other flats. a personal tragedy was prevented from becoming a much bigger disaster. one explanation for why the fire spread so quickly in the grenfell tower was that the fire appears to have spread over the outside of the building via the cladding. that's insulation added to the exterior of the building during a refurbishment in 2015. this broad design of cladding is in wide use. you pin a layer of insulation material to the outside of the building, then leave a small gap. then add a waterproof layer to guard against the weather. it was this outer layer that newsnight revealed yesterday was of a design that wasn't as fireproof as it might have been. but experts have also called into question whether there's a bigger national problem. not with grenfell tower in particular, but with materials being used in general in cladding. the fire protection association has
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been conducting tests on widely used insulation material, for example. typically, we will fill a wheelie bin with cardboard, plastic bottles and normal stuff you see in a normal recycling bin. we put it up against the cladding and set fire to it. you get some initial charring, but within a very short space of time, the fire has got into the expanded polystyrene and shot up. theresa may today announced an enquiry. whether we take enough care to keep such combustible material safely boxed in is one of the questions it will need to answer. i am today ordering a full public enquiry into this disaster. 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. one of the first questions, though, is how widespread is the sort of arrangement we saw at the grenfell tower across the country? where we've seen the widespread
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insulation of buildings, retrospective insulation of buildings, is generally in social housing. the insulation materials of choice tend to be combustible or of limited combustibility. it's very rare that i'm seeing installed in residential accommodation noncombustible insulation material. we may have problems because we are quite slow to update our building regulations. i'm absolutely amazed that your regulations haven't been looked at for over ten years, as i understand it. with all of the developments happening with materials, we see some of these fires that are occurring around the world, we have lessons that we learn from other countries, new materials that are being developed, research that's carried out. a 10—year plus review of regulations, i don't think is acceptable. but there's been resistance
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in whitehall to regulation reform and in part, it's because officials didn't see the danger. conversations we've had with officials at dclg, very recently have pointed out that people aren't dying in these buildings. and so, while no one was dying, it didn't matter? it becomes less of a priority. group upon group have been lining up to tell the government they need to make a review of building regulations. a full explanation of the tragedy will certainly go well beyond cladding. the fire penetrated the building very deeply, so why didn't its internal fire brakes hold the fire back? was gas a factor? do we need sprinklers in more buildings? we certainly need a full enquiry. the deputy leader of kensington and chelsea council, which owns the block, spoke to the bbc earlier and he was asked if it was a mistake to not fit sprinklers during a multi—million pound refit of the building
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only last year. we're going to have to have a public enquiry to look into this. this council has been asked by the investigating authorities not to speculate and talk about the specifics around fire safety issues in the scheme because it is part of a live, very thorough investigation that's going to happen. that will have to be reviewed by that investigation. my understanding is that very few councils and housing associations who are working on renovating 1960s and 70s tower blocks have gone and put in retrofitted sprinkler systems, but my current understanding now and all of this has to be looked at in much greater detail. as we've heard, the government has said every family from grenfell tower will be rehoused in the local area. in the meantime former residents have been staying in hotels and in emergency accommodation at a sports centre.
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local churches have been offering food, drink and clothing, but community groups say that so much has been given that people should donate only if they see appeals for specific items. our correspondent elaine dunkley has the latest on the community response. give it to me, give it to me... 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 and say that communities do come together. like, there were muslim people donating to churches, and i was one of them, there were christian people donating to, you know, mosques. knowing whatever is easier and closer. it is just a network of not races, not colours, not anything, just us being humans. many people felt hopeless as they watched the tower block of fire. donating food and clothes is helping this community heal. i'm from new york and i lived in new york when the towers came down and it was very
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reminiscent of that. just generaly 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 are trying to create a central base here. niles is a local resident, he has organised a sorting facility to take collections. we do not want any bags left on the street, that has been sent for people's hearts. i don't think people need to send so much stuff anymore but people need to support the community in whatever capacity that they have. in the midst of this horror and destruction there is a bit of beauty, you know? there's a bit of upliftment, there's a bit of seeing that we can, you know, we have a lot of resources, human resources. please, stop, just stop. clothes are going here. food only is going here.
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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. we're a united front here but i've got to say that the council's sort of dragged their feet a lot and they should have done a lot more. we are just common folks just come to help. there has not been any contingency plan, there hasn't been any strategies. i've got a week off and i'lljust give my time to what needs doing. but there are so many people here, like, just waiting for someone 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 has not done enough to help? well, i'm very sorry there is that criticism because, 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.
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tonight, most residents are in temporary accommodation, for now, there are enough provisions — what people need is a roof over their heads. as we've been hearing, questions continue over how and why this devastating fire happened. and questions too from residents, who live in other tower blocks throughout london and just how safe they are. marc ashdown reports. it has been described as a disaster waiting to happen others fear of it can happen again. 700 flat across for tower blocks up the road from g re nfell tower for tower blocks up the road from grenfell tower and furnished with cladding from the same contract. margaret has lived here for a0 yea rs. margaret has lived here for a0 years. i try not to think about it.
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have been any fires? a couple of minor ones. roger another resident has also been watching. do you have fire drills? never had one. we have fire drills? never had one. we have fire alarms. the advice is to stay put. how do you feel about that would you? put. how do you feel about that would you ? absolutely put. how do you feel about that would you? absolutely not. science say if there is a fire, it says to leave the building. the row what appeared to be smoke detectors but i cannot see any sprinklers. any fire here and the leaks would stop working so this is the only way to get out, a single stairwell. 160 flat and this is the only emergency escape route. councils across london said they take fire safety very
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seriously and they inspect tower blocks but some have ordered an urgent dispatch in light of what happened. from the top floor, you can see the charred remains of g re nfell tower. can see the charred remains of grenfell tower. if that is a fire hazard, that is extremely worrying. we have not been given any advice. just common sense, not to use the lifts. i do not know what you would do. you cannot go up on the roof. you would just be stuck. one area of investigation may be the cladding but fire investigators say nothing should be ruled out. wasn't that cladding, accelerated, whether doors propped open, was there some sort of
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sabotage. you have to think of all sorts of things. the company which carried out the work said it met all building regulation. rydon has worked across london a—a—2 years, in westminster, barnett, an extra safety checks are under way. there needs to be reassurance homes are safe. more accounts have been shared of the exceptional bravery and stories of extraordinary bravery are emerging. more than 200 firefighters tackled the fire yesterday entering 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. our correspondent sarah campbell reports on the firefighters and the impact this fire has had on them. hero, this guy, look at that, hero!
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it is impossible to imagine how anyone would willingly run into this, but that is 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 up to the top and the thick black smoke that filled the air, that filled the building. they are real challenges for us. we have also got people, quite rightly, trying to get out of the building quickly as we were trying to get in. have you ever seen a fire like it? i have never seen a fire on this scale in my whole career, no. i have seen lots of fires in the london fire brigade but nothing on this scale. exhausted, having spent hours tackling a fire which has been described as unprecedented in its scale, and the work is far from over. now comes the task of making the building safe enough to allow a thorough search and recovery. you have had a chance to speak to some of those involved. how are they doing if not physically but mentally? i have spoken to quite a few people, they are ok. the main thing is they are tired,
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but they are so keen to ensure that we complete the job. they were on duty again, a lot of them were on duty last night, some of them will be on duty tonight, and they want to come back. they want to come back and assist. thankfully only a handful of firefighters received minor injuries. the mental scars from what they saw and heard may take longer to heal. people have coping mechanisms in all sorts of ways and the most obvious one is the support of your colleagues who have been through similar experiences. but clearly the scale of this and the sort of horrors that people have seen means that they will need to be watched and they will need to be supported and that will need professional support. there is anger here with many local people feeling let down by the authorities, but there is thanks too for those willing to put their lives on the line to save others. heroes, heroes. they are heroes. they went in to try
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and save people in that. i just... they are heroes. to have a look on our website for a special section related to the g re nfell tower special section related to the grenfell tower disaster. temperatures are rising. we have freshened things up and as we go through the night, showers easing and high pressure building. it is definitely a more comfortable night. a comfortable night. weak weatherfront a comfortable night. weak weather front coming a comfortable night. weak weatherfront coming in across a weak weather front coming in across parts of northern ireland and western scotland so all comfortable and to the night but more cloud to
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greet northern ireland and western scotland. bright with spells of sunshine in southern and western areas. for the west of scotland and the western isles, it lost fairly bleak and damp. east of the grampians, where the sun comes out, we could see 19 degrees. afternoon sunshine in ireland. across northern and eastern parts of england, decent brea ks and eastern parts of england, decent breaks in the cloud. temperatures in comparison to recent days down a couple of degrees. high levels of uv, unfortunately. mist and low cloud across western scotland. some around inland as well. saturday, the high—pressure starting to build in
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again, pushing weatherfronts north. they will hang on in the far north—west of scotland. essentially a fine day. more sunshine compared to the day ahead. northern ireland is still some cloud around and for scotland. temperatures in the low 20s for eastern scotland. we start to build up the warmth. sunday, the warmth building even further. hopefully losing the misty low cloud but the north—west of scotland looking as if it could be persistently cloudy with rain at times. if you find in the prospect of temperatures approaching 30 stifling, the sea breezes will be refreshing sun just as strong. it does not matter the temperatures, these are the uv levels and they are — many parts of the country. the heat building further as we start
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the week particularly in the south. i'm sharanjit leyl in singapore. the headlines: grief and anger in london, as the death toll in the tower block fire rises to 17. the prime minister orders a full public inquiry. democrats and republicans unite. the us's congressional baseball game goes ahead, a day after the shooting that left steve scalise critically injured. i'm kasia madera in london. also in the programme: seven people are killed and dozens injured in an explosion at a nursery in china. local reports suggest the blast was caused by a gas canister. and the duke of york tells newsday that uk firms should make the best of brexit by looking to asia.
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