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Anger erupts in London over burned tower’s feared renovation flaws

By in Press Enterprise on June 16, 2017

By The Associated Press

By DANICA KIRKA

LONDON — Grief over a deadly London high-rise tower fire turned to outrage Friday amid reports that the materials used in a recent renovation of the public housing block may have fueled the inferno.

Engineering experts have speculated that outside insulation panels installed on the 24-story Grenfell Tower may have helped the fire spread rapidly from one floor to the next. The Guardian newspaper reported Friday that contractors installed a cheaper, less flame-resistant type of paneling in the renovation that ended in May 2016.

Scuffles broke out Friday near the Kensington and Chelsea town hall offices as demonstrators chanting “We want justice!” surged toward the doors. London has a chronic housing shortage even in the best of times, and those left homeless by the fire — already outraged over what they perceive to be government inequity in allocating resources — fear being forced out of the British capital.

The tower housed some 600 people in 120 apartments. London police said Friday that 30 people are known to have died in the blaze. Britain’s Press Association reported that some 70 people are still missing after the fire, based on verified reports.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan sent an open letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May, demanding that she explain how she will support the community after the fire.

Angry residents on Friday surrounded Andrea Leadsom, a Conservative Party lawmaker and leader of the House of Commons, when she visited the neighborhood, demanding to know why May hadn’t met with survivors when she toured the area a day earlier.

“Because of people saving money, people are dying!” one man told Leadsom.

“I do sense the anger,” Leadsom said. “I wanted to show the absolute sorrow and horror of everyone in the House of Commons from the prime minister down.”

Using drones and sniffer dogs, firefighters continued Friday to […]    

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