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UK Police Probing Criminal Offenses in Deadly London Blaze


The burnt Grenfell Tower apartment building standing testament to the recent fire in London, June 23, 2017.

Police in London say manslaughter charges could be filed over a deadly blaze at a public housing building last week that killed 79 people.

Authorities said the exterior covering, or cladding, on the Grenfell Tower failed a safety test, though the fire started with a malfunctioning fridge inside the building. An immediate check was ordered on the Hotpoint-branded refrigerator blamed for the fire.

Whirlpool, an American company that owns the Hotpoint brand said in a statement it is addressing the matter and is fully cooperating with authorities.

London Police spokeswoman Fiona McCormack said police currently are “looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards.”

She said the cladding on the outside of the building, which has been widely blamed for causing the fast spread of the fire, didn’t “pass any safety tests,” and police are investigating companies that installed the cladding during a refurbishment project last year.

Estimates from the British government show that 600 other high-rise buildings in the country could be covered in similar cladding to that used on Grenfell Tower.

The British government asked owners of tower blocks around Britain to send in samples of any cladding material used on their buildings for testing.

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.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has promised a full inquiry into the disastrous fire.

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