Insulation, tiles from building failed safety tests, says detective leading probe of fire believed to have claimed 79 lives
Last week’s Grenfell Tower fire was caused by a faulty fridge, and police are considering manslaughter charges after the insulation and tiles on the building failed safety tests, a Scotland Yard statement said Friday.
Speaking to the media, Metropolitan Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack, who is leading the investigation into the blaze that is believed to have claimed at least 79 lives, said the fire was not started intentionally but caused by a fridge freezer.
The manufacturers of the Hotpoint brand fridge freezer have been contacted, McCormack said.
A later government statement said a technical examination of the unit has been ordered to establish the cause of the fire, and told consumers who believe they may own a Hotpoint FF175 to contact the manufacturer, Whirlpool.
McCormack said the insulation recovered from the tower and the tiles were put through safety tests but both failed them. She said the tests found the insulation to be “more flammable than the cladding” around the building.
“Preliminary tests show the insulation samples collected from Grenfell Tower combusted soon after the tests started. The initial tests on equivalent aluminium composite tiles failed,” she said.
She said police would investigate how the tiles were fixed to the building and their installation.
McCormack told the press that all the complete bodies have now been recovered from the burnt building, describing it as a “very, very distressing scene.”
She said she feared more people were killed in the fire and warned that some bodies may never be recovered.
Having ordered a full public inquiry following criticism over the initial response to the catastrophe, Prime Minister Theresa May previously warned of a higher death toll.
May this week apologized over the inadequate response to victims and survivors after the fire.
Around 600 towers in the U.K. have cladding, and some of these might have flammable systems, the Department for Communities and Local Government has estimated.
Councils have been asked by the government to conduct safety checks, as May said they would fund tests on up to 100 towers a day.
The official figure of the dead or missing presumed dead in the inferno is 79, but authorities warned the final death toll could be higher.