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London Mayor Admits Fire Caused by 'Mistakes and Neglect'

  • VOA News

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks after meeting victims and volunteers of the Grenfell apartment tower fire at a church in north Kensington, London, June 18, 2017.

London mayor Sadiq Khan acknowledged growing public anger surrounding the Grenfell Tower fire in which 58 people are presumed dead, saying the blaze was a result of "mistakes and neglect".

"There is a feeling from the community that they've been treated badly because some of them are poor," Khan said after a visit to a church near the burnt-out social housing block to attend a service which remembered victims of Wednesday's tragedy.

He called the fire a "preventable accident", acknowledging the anger and frustration of displaced residents of the working-class enclave in one of Britain's wealthiest districts.

Damage is seen to a tower block which was destroyed in a fire disaster, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 15, 2017.
Damage is seen to a tower block which was destroyed in a fire disaster, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 15, 2017.

The 1974 concrete building had recently been fitted with new insulation cladding. Survivors of the building claim that cheap materials for the cladding and a lack of maintenance on the building were to blame for the fatal fire.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced a public inquiry into the disaster as police investigate whether any criminal offenses were committed.

London police said Saturday at least 58 people were probably killed in the inferno, a figure that includes the 30 who have already been confirmed dead.

A father's day card sits amongst flowers left for the victims of the Grenfell apartment tower fire in North Kensington, London, Britain, June 18, 2017.
A father's day card sits amongst flowers left for the victims of the Grenfell apartment tower fire in North Kensington, London, Britain, June 18, 2017.

Sixteen bodies have been removed from the blackened 24-story public housing unit and the first victim has been formally identified as Mohammed Alhajali, a 23-year-old Syrian refugee.

If at least 58 deaths are confirmed, the blaze would be London's deadliest since World War II.

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