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Queen Elizabeth II Responds to London Fire, Death Toll Rises

06-17-2017
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Queen Elizabeth II has spoken regarding the recent Grenfell Tower fire in London, England.

“Today is traditionally a day of celebration. This year, however, it is difficult to escape a very sombre national mood. In recent months, the country has witnessed a succession of terrible tragedies,” she said in a statement according to the Guardian.

“As a nation, we continue to reflect and pray for all those who have been directly affected by these events.”

She and her husband, Prince Philip, attended a memorial service for the victims.

They also made an appearance on the steps of Buckingham Palace for during the annual Trooping the Color Procession, a ceremony held in celebration of the Queen’s birthday.

There, they also held a minute of silence to honor the victims of the fire

Commander Stuart Cundy of London Metropolitan Police says the death toll from the fire has risen to 58. Cundy says it is likely to continue rising.

Some of the 58 persons are missing, and presumed dead at this point.

Mohammed Alhajali has been the first victim identified from the fire.

Cundy took time to address concerns that authorities have underplayed the scale of the tragedy.

“I understand, I really do understand the fears of so many about not knowing the scale of the tragedy that is unfolding behind us,” said Cundy.

“You have my absolute assurance that as soon as I can tell you something that I know to be accurate I will tell you. The investigation will be extensive, my intention is that we will help provide answers.”

Cundy also mentioned that his “heart goes out to those affected.”

Emergency workers have reached the 24th floor, the top floor, of the tower. Their search for missing residents has been stalled because of safety concerns over the tower’s condition.

Cundy said that search and recovery efforts will take a “significant” amount of time.

“Both myself and colleagues from London Fire Brigade have already said it will take weeks. It may take longer than that. My commitment to families is that as soon as we can, we will locate and recover their loved ones. The reason we had to pause the search and recovery yesterday was for the safety of our staff. We do not want another fatality arising out of this tragedy,” he said.

Prime Minister Theresa May met with survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire. She then released a statement. She addressed worries that victim's voices “will not be heard."

She also outlined the government’s plan for handling the situation and investigation.

“Victims have concerns their voice will not be heard, that their many questions about this tragedy will not be answered. That is why I ordered a public inquiry, with the costs for providing victims with legal representation met by government. The inquiry will be open and transparent. Government and ministers will cooperate fully,” she said.

“It has been decided today that the public inquiry will report back to me personally. As prime minister, I will be responsible for implementing its findings.”

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