Latest update at 18:45hrs on Thursday, 15 June:
Met Police Commander Stuart Cundy this afternoon said work to identify those who tragically died in the Grenfell Tower fire in Kensington is our top priority.
Officers are working around the clock, alongside the other emergency services, to recover the bodies of those who have died, identify them and support their families.
We are asking families and friends who are missing loved ones to make contact with the police in two ways:
– If you can attend in person, please go to the reception centre at the Westway sports and leisure centre. This afternoon we have placed a team of detectives there to sit down with people and take full details of anyone missing or who has information.
– If you cannot attend, call Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233. If you cannot get through, we would urge you to please keep trying. Be aware that our staff are very busy – but your call will be answered and you will be helped.
The Casualty Bureau is being staffed 24/7 and has taken 5,000 calls so far. Around 200 trained staff from the Met, supported from police officers and staff from seven other forces around the country, are taking calls and also calling people back to update them
If someone you have reported missing has now been found please update us at the Westway or via Casualty Bureau.
A total of 17 fatalities have been confirmed; the bodies of six people have been recovered and are at Westminster Mortuary and 11 remain inside the building. We sadly expect that total to rise and we do not expect to find any survivors.
Commander Cundy said: “The recovery of victims from inside the building is enormously challenging, but it is our absolute priority above everything else to recover and identify the victims and let the families know.
“It is important to be frank – fires are still breaking out and conditions are very difficult and hazardous for the emergency services in the upper levels of the building.
“We can only recover bodies when it is safe to do so and that will take some time in the days and weeks to come. We have experts from urban search and rescue and the London Fire Brigade carrying out this process.
“We believe we know the provisional identity of six of the deceased and those families have trained family liaison officers supporting them. We have identified all those injured in hospital. The families of the 16 who remain in a critical condition, as well as others in hospital with less serious injuries, are all aware.
“I cannot begin to put myself in the shoes of those families affected and I can entirely understand their frustration at not knowing if their loved ones are amongst those who have died. Sadly, the nature of injuries caused by such an intense fire will mean the identification process will take some time. But it would also be deeply distressing for families for us to release wrong information.
“Aside from the six people, we simply do not know at this stage the identity of those who are deceased. We cannot release information we do not have and it is so important the information we do release is entirely accurate.
“Families can help us by ensuring we have all the information we need – please go to the Westway centre or speak to Casualty Bureau, even if you have before, so we can be clear on who is missing, survivors and sadly the deceased.”
Internationally-recognised standards of identification are used to identify the deceased. These are known as the INTERPOL Disaster Victim Identification Standards.
Victims are identified where possible, by at least one of the primary identification methods which are dental comparison, fingerprints and DNA.
Other, secondary, identification features are also taken into consideration, such as tattoos and scars. Supporting information to consider can include jewellery, clothing or property.
Once a preliminary identification has been made, trained liaison officers are deployed to support families.
These processes take place in conjunction with the coroner. Both the Met and the coroner are committed to working as quickly as possible to identify people and repatriate them to their families.
Once more, our thoughts remain with all those so affected by this tragedy.
Latest update at 11:00hrs on Thursday, 15 June:
At 11:00hrs today (Thursday, 15 June) in a statement at the cordon of Grenfell Tower, Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Metropolitan Police Service, said:
“Today is about those who are waiting for news about their loved ones. Our thoughts remain with those so deeply affected by the events over the last 24 hours.
“Yesterday was a very difficult day, clearly it was challenging overnight particularly for colleagues from fire. Today the work really starts in earnest to ensure that we do the appropriate recovery of everybody from those premises.
“Sadly I can confirm the number of people that have died is now 17. We do believe that that number will increase.
“From my colleagues in the health service, there are still a number of people who are receiving treatment in hospital. There are 37 people receiving treatment, of which 17 are still in critical care.
“Like we explained yesterday, our absolute priority is identifying and locating those people who are still missing. It would be wrong for me to get into numbers that I do not believe are accurate.
“Our Casualty Bureau number is 0800 0961 233. If you have reported somebody missing and you now know they are safe and well please contact that number so we can identify those that we’re still trying to find.
“My heart goes out to those families still trying to find their loved ones. Rest assured, please get in contact with us through the Casualty Bureau and our specialist trained officers will be in touch with you to support you through this.
“It is going to take a considerable period of time, and the building needs to be made structurally safe, in order that we can do our job and investigate.
“A large team of specialist detectives will be investigating under Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner, alongside colleagues from the fire brigade. But I reiterate again, it is going to be a lengthy process.
“Again, my thanks to the community and the public for their patience which they are showing. I know this is an exceptionally difficult and challenging time.
“If you have any concerns about anybody, again please contact the police Casualty Bureau.
“I would like to pay tribute to all of those who have been involved in this incident. From the first responders, through to those that are supporting them, the staff at the reception centres around this area, the tremendous public support in donations, which I think is a real testament to the community spirit of Londoners.”
At 17:00 today (Wednesday, 14 June) in a statement at the cordon of the Grenfell Tower fire, Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police Service said:
“This remains an active operation by our colleagues from the Fire Brigade.
“Sadly I can confirm that 12 people have died that we know of. There is going to be a long and complex recovery operation. I do anticipate the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12 people.
“The thoughts of all of us from the emergency services – and I am sure colleagues from the local authority and all Londoners – are with those that have been so affected by a fire on a scale that we have probably not seen in London for many, many years.
“I have said before, and I would reiterate again, from a police perspective what’s really important that we identify and account for everybody.
“We have had call handlers in our Casualty Bureau taking hundreds of calls today. Now our experience shows us in cases like this, it is very, very challenging to put a number on how many people are unaccounted for.
“Our priority is clearly those we know would have been resident within Grenfell Tower, but there might have been others that were staying with family or friends. So if you do have any concerns, please contact the Casualty Bureau.
“If you have been reported missing, or reported somebody missing and they are now found safe and well, again I would reiterate, please contact the Casualty Bureau, so we know that person is safe and well.
“Thank you very much to all the community for their patience. This is going to be a long operation as I said a moment ago. Not just today and not just tonight, as we make sure the fire is completely put out, but then the recovery operation from the tower itself. It will be vitally important as we work closely with the Coroner that we locate and identify all those that have tragically died within this truly truly shocking fire.
“There are a number of reception centres that have been set up locally. There are a lot of people that have been truly affected by this fire and I would request that you, the media, please bear that in mind with the reporting and some of the imagery that I know has already gone out on social media. Thank you.”
The Metropolitan Police Casualty Bureau phone number is 0800 0961 233. If you don’t get through first time – please keep trying.
Wednesday, 14 June – Latest at 12:15hrs
Police were called at 01:16hrs to reports of a large fire at a block of flats at the Lancaster West Estate, W11. Officers were sent to the scene to assist colleagues from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and the London Ambulance Service (LAS).
Residents have been evacuated from the tower block and a number of those have sought medical assistance from the LAS. A total of 74 patients are currently being treated in six London hospitals. Of these patients 64 were treated at the scene by ambulance crews and taken to hospital for further treatment. The remainder made their own way. A total of 20 are in critical care.
Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this truly shocking fire at Grenfell Tower.
“I can confirm six fatalities at this time but this figure is likely to rise during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days. Many others are receiving medical care.
“If you do have any concerns for anybody connected to this awful event, please call the Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233. If you do not get through immediately, please try again. If you have any concerns, please use that number rather than dialling 999 or 101.
“If you are a resident who has been evacuated from the area and can’t now get home the current reception centre being coordinated by the local authority is at the Portobello Rugby club at Walmer Road. We urge anyone who lived in the block to make themselves known at that centre so that we know they are safe. If you are unable to get to the centre please speak to a police officer. This is really important as we account for all those in the building.
“Equally if you have reported someone missing and they are now safe and well it is really important that you contact Casualty Bureau so that we can keep an accurate record of who is missing and who is safe.
“We kindly ask that the public stay away from the area. I thank the public for their patience and their cooperation today which has already greatly assisted our policing response.”
Commander Cundy added: “There are a significant number of officers at the scene who are continuing to work with the other emergency services and agencies. I’d like to thank my officers and colleagues at London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service for the sterling work they are doing at this time.”
Extensive cordons remain in place and a number of nearby residents have been evacuated as a precaution. The A40 is closed in both directions.
It is likely to take some time before we are in a position to confirm the identity of the victims.
It is too early to speculate on the cause of the fire.
Anyone concerned about a loved one should contact Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233 or 0207 158 0197.
Those travelling to and from the area are asked to check before they start their journey visit
Wednesday, 14 June – Latest at 8:02hrs
There have been a number of fatalities following the fire in North Kensington in the early hours this morning, Wednesday, 14 June.
Police were called at 01:16hrs to reports of a large fire at a block of flats at the Lancaster West Estate, W11.
Officers were sent to the scene to assist colleagues from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and the London Ambulance Service (LAS).
Residents have been evacuated from the tower block and number of those have sought medical assistance from the LAS. The evacuation process continues.
Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “All the emergency services and other agencies continue to work together at the scene.
“I can confirm there have been a number of fatalities and others receiving medical care. We will be soon making contact with next of kin.
“Anyone who is concerned about loved ones in relation to the fire should contact Casualty Bureau which has been opened following the fire. If you do not get through immediately please do try again.
“Extensive cordons remain in place and a number of nearby residents have been evacuated as a precaution. The A40 is closed in both directions. We kindly ask that the public stay away from the area. I thank the public for their patience and their cooperation today which has already greatly assisted our policing response.”
It is likely to take some time before we are in a position to confirm the cause of the fire.
Anyone concerned about a loved one should contact Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233 or 0207 158 0197.
Those travelling to and from the area are asked to check before they start their journey visit www.tfl.gov.uk
Wednesday, 14 June – Latest at 02:14hrs
Police were called at 01:16hrs on Wednesday, 14 June to reports of a large fire at a block of flats in the Lancaster West Estate, W11.
Officers, the London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service are currently at the scene.
An evacuation process is underway.
Residents continue to be evacuated from the tower block. A number of people being treated for a range of injuries.
The Local Authority has been informed.
Cordons are in place and it is advised that the estate and surrounding area is avoided.