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May pledges support for fire victims after met by angry protesters

18 June 2017

The Guardian newspaper reported Friday that contractors installed a cheaper, less flame-resistant type of paneling on the building in the renovation that ended in May 2016.

In November, the Grenfell Action Group highlighted ongoing concerns among residents over the safety of the tower, managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation on behalf of the borough.

"May must go", "blood on your hands" and "justice for Grenfell" were some of the chants that resounded the streets which were swarming with angry agitators, reports the Independent.

Relatives of those missing after a high-rise tower blaze in London posted pictures of their loved ones Friday in the desperate hope of news, as grief following the tragedy has turned to outrage at authorities accused of being lax in meeting building standards.

Commander Stuart Cundy said they had been able to remove the remains of only 12 victims from the building.

"Sadly, at this time there are 58 people who we have been told were in the Grenfell Tower on the night that are missing".

Asked repeatedly whether she had misread the public mood, Mrs May did not answer directly but said the focus was on providing support to the victims.

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"There will be many questions about this whole incident and so you will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for us to comment or for others to speculate on any aspect of fire, or it causes, in advance of these inquiries", managing director Ray Bailey said. "United in our sadness, we are equally determined, without fear or favour, to support all those rebuilding lives so horribly affected by injury and loss", she said.

The visit can be seen as a response to the anger of residents from the west London neighbourhood after the British Prime Minister visited the scene of the fire without meeting victims.

"We're all desperately sad, we're all angry, but of course none of us as angry as those who were directly affected, " Green said.

Opponents said Mrs May's handling of the fire has thrust her position further into doubt.

May said after the meeting there have been "huge frustrations" in the community as people tried to get information about the fire investigation.

She added: "We advise our residents to follow current fire safety guidance that says if there is a fire in your home then you should evacuate".

The identification of the victims is proving very hard - which experts attribute to the extreme heat of the fire.

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A speech given on Thursday near the tower by London Mayor Sadiq Khan was interrupted by hecklers, who said that the fire "could have been prevented".

But multiple residents told CNN they did not hear fire alarms when the blaze broke out and many survivors said the fire spread quickly with little warning.

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip have observed a minute of silence to honor the victims of the London high-rise fire.

"It's come over very strongly how good the community has been to help", the queen said.

Using drones and sniffer dogs, firefighters continued Friday to search the burned-out hulk that looms over Notting Dale, a low-income community next to the super-affluent Notting Hill neighborhood in west London.

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

Exterior cladding that was added during a recent refurbishment might have played a part.

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Association chairman Gary Porter says that "fire risk assessments and the construction of buildings are being reviewed and double checks are being made to ensure remedial work recommended under previous assessments have been carried out".