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British prime minister appoints ex-judge for tower blaze inquiry

By AFP   |   29 June 2017   |   2:02 pm  

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Grenfell tower fire victim Anthony Disson during the funeral service in North Kensington on June 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NIKLAS HALLE’N

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday appointed a retired judge to lead a public inquiry into the London tower block blaze, as a funeral was held for one of at least 80 victims.

Six months after retiring, Martin Moore-Bick was named as the head of the inquiry into the deadly blaze which engulfed Grenfell Tower on June 14.

“We must get to the truth about what happened. No stone will be left unturned by this inquiry,” May said as she announced the appointment.

On Thursday morning Moore-Bick visited the tower, speaking to the emergency services before meeting with survivors and local residents at a nearby church.

Public inquiries can take years and May has pushed for an interim report ahead of the full conclusions, while Moore-Bick has also stressed urgency.

“I understand the desire of local people for justice; justice for them, and for all those involved in whatever way, will best be served by a vigorous inquiry that gets to the truth as quickly as possible,” he said.

Victims include baby
While police continued their search for traces of victims in the gutted tower block, the west London community gathered on Thursday for the funeral of 65-year-old Tony Disson.

A hearse was pulled by four black horses with white plumes on their heads, while Disson’s family followed in two Mercedes cars topped with flowers.

As the cortege passed onlookers paused to show their respects.

In a statement, Disson’s relatives said they “miss him terribly”.

“(We) are pulling together as a family and trying to stay strong under these tragic circumstances.”

Around 80 people are known to have died in the fire, which spread at shocking speed through the 24-storey tower block, and the number is expected to rise further.

“We are many months from being able to provide the number of people who accurately represents the loss of life at Grenfell Tower,” police detective Fiona McCormack said on Wednesday.

Victims identified so far include a six-month old baby, her eight-year-old sister and their parents, who lived on the 20th floor.

The baby was found in her mother’s arms.

Checks are underway on hundreds of high-rises in Britain fitted with the same cladding which encased Grenfell Tower.

So far all 137 buildings tested have failed the fire safety checks.

The US supplier of cladding used at Grenfell Tower, Arconic, on Monday stopped sales of the material for high-rises.



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