Theresa May responds to criticism of her Grenfell Tower visit


British prime minister Theresa May has ordered a full public inquiry into the high-rise apartment blaze that killed at least 17 people in London amid growing public anxiety about whether similar blazes could occur in other housing blocks around the country.

"This will need to be a lot of work between us and other investigating agencies to establish what has happened and why and that is going to take a considerable period of time". "We owe that to the families, to the people who have lost loved ones, friends, and the homes in which they lived".

A massive fire raced through the 24-story high-rise apartment building in west London early Wednesday.

More than 70 people are in hospital, with 18 in critical care, and the toll is expected to rise.

The fire reportedly trapped many residents in the building - dozens are still missing. Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said at 11 a.m. today: 'Sadly I can confirm the number of people that have died is now 17.

"In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never, ever seen anything of this scale", London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton told NBC News.

Nearly all of the building had been searched but crews were still trying to put out "pockets of fire" in hard to reach places and "unknown numbers" remain inside, London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Steve Apter said.

But David Collins, former chairman of the Grenfell Tower Residents' Association, said the building's management had failed to listen to residents' calls for improvements on fire safety.

London Police said an investigation had been launched to determine whether the blaze involved any crimes and Prime Minister Theresa May announced a public inquiry, a type of probe that's used to investigate issues of major public concern.

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She said: "Most Muslims now observing Ramadan will normally not go to bed until about 2am, maybe 2.30am, [when] they have their late night last meal".

Residents of Borehamwood and Elstree have been queuing out of the door to donate goods such as toiletries, toys, clothes and food for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire this week. "Today is one of those days", Rev. Mike Long said.

"As a service, we would like to reassure our communities that this type of fire is rare and that high-rise buildings are created to resist fire, stop the spread of smoke and provide a safe means of escape".

The presenter pleaded with people to "keep this spirit" and focus their energies on other local charities who need the help. She said firefighters witnessed people jumping and throwing their children out of the building. One woman threw a baby out the window to escape the flames.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but experts have said that it was highly unusual because of the speed with which the tower was engulfed in flame.

Families were also concerned about two young Italian architects who were missing.

"Even if they breach the window, they don't spread externally up and around the building, which this one did", he told CTV News Channel from London.

The London Fire Brigade said firefighters were unable to access the upper floors both because of intense heat as well as concerns over structural safety.