World UK royals honor London fire victims as anger mounts

14:30  17 june  2017
14:30  17 june  2017 Source:   Associated Press

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LONDON (AP) - A solemn Queen Elizabeth II marked a minute of silence Saturday for victims of the London high-rise inferno that killed at least 30 people as exhausted firefighters continued their grim search for more bodies. Public anger was mounting as residents and neighbors demanded answers

10:50 a.m. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip have observed a minute of silence to honor the victims of the London high-rise fire . Grim search at London blaze site continues as anger mounts .

Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning, Saturday, June 17, 2017. Public fury over the London high-rise fire is mounting as exhausted London firefighters continue their grim search Saturday for victims of the inferno that killed at least 30 people. (David Mirzoeff/PA via AP)© The Associated Press Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning, Saturday, June 17, 2017. Public fury over the London high-rise fire is mounting as exhausted London firefighters continue their grim search Saturday for victims of the inferno that killed at least 30 people. (David Mirzoeff/PA via AP)

LONDON — A solemn Queen Elizabeth II marked a minute of silence Saturday for victims of the London high-rise inferno that killed at least 30 people as exhausted firefighters continued their grim search for more bodies.

Public anger was mounting as residents and neighbors demanded answers for how the blaze spread so quickly amid reports that contractors installed a cheaper, less flame-resistant type of exterior paneling in a renovation of Grenfell Tower that ended in May 2016.

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Of the 17 victims found by emergency services so far, six were outside the tower, while it has not yet been deemed safe enough to recover the 11 bodies found inside. London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said they still did not the cause of the fire , where it started or why it spread in such a way.

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Around 70 people are missing, according to Britain's Press Association, and identification of the victims is proving very difficult. British health authorities say that 19 patients are still being treated at four London hospitals. Of those, 10 remain in critical condition.

The queen marked her official birthday Saturday by saying Britain remains "resolute in the face of adversity" after the horrendous fire and recent extremist attacks in London and Manchester.

The 91-year-old monarch said it is "difficult to escape a very somber mood" on what is normally a day of celebration.

The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, stood silently on the steps of Buckingham Palace before the start of the Trooping the Color that each year marks the queen's official birthday, which is traditionally celebrated in June when the weather is warm.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May visited victims at a hospital and residents and volunteers at a UK councils are carrying out urgent reviews of their tower blocks, according to the Local London fire : Residents had warned of safety risks. World. London fire : Protests, PM jeered, as anger mounts .

Other recent news in British Royal Family: Queen Elizabeth II. Recent related news. News24.com | Anger mounts over London tower blaze. Probes launched as search continues for London fire victims .

There is simmering anger in the multi-ethnic Kensington area hit by the blaze, and public fury has been directed at senior government figures, including Prime Minister Theresa May, when they visited the stricken area.

Rescue personnel have had difficulty reaching the top floors of the charred, 24-story tower. Officials warn that no further survivors are likely to be found.

Hundreds have been left homeless by the blaze, putting more pressure on officials in a city already plagued by a chronic housing shortage.

The government has promised a full public inquiry, but that has done little to a sense of frustration at the lack of information about how the fire moved so quickly to engulf the building.

Engineering experts and fire safety specialists believe the building's exterior cladding may have quickly fueled the blaze, overwhelming fire protection devices. British officials have ordered a review of other buildings that have had similar renovations.

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Anger mounted in London on Wednesday over a devastating tower block blaze which killed at least 17 people, as police said "They are simply not recognisable because of the fire ," Fiona McCormack, from the Metropolitan Police's identification team, said of the victims found inside Grenfell Tower.

The Latest: UK royals hold London fire minute of silence. 10:50 a.m. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip have observed a minute of silence to honor the victims of the London high-rise fire .

The horrific fire early Wednesday morning has put increased pressure on May and her senior ministers at a time when her authority has been weakened by an election that saw her Conservative Party lose its majority in Parliament. May was jeered after she made a visit to the community Friday.

The tragedy has provoked a gigantic response from nearby communities that have donated food and shelter to the victims. More than 3 million pounds ($3.8 million) have been raised for the victims, and the British government has announced a 5 million-pound ($6.3 million) emergency fund.

Many of the displaced are living in churches and community centers. There is ample food and water, but very little privacy or proper bedding.

Scuffles broke out near the Kensington and Chelsea town hall offices Friday as demonstrators chanting "We want justice!" surged toward the doors.

Some residents had warned months ago that the tower represented a dangerous fire risk. They say their complaints were ignored.

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Associated Press writer Frank Griffiths contributed to this report.

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