SEVENTY PEOPLE lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire on 14th June. A stillborn baby is also being counted as a victim of the fire. Dr Fiona Wilcox, Senior Coroner for Westminster, will now open and adjourn the final inquests on 22nd November.
The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that they believe 71 is the final death toll and there are no more human remains in the Tower to identify. The intensity of the fire had left over 15 tonnes of ash and debris on each floor – all of which was subjected to a fingertip search by specialist police and other experts.
Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said, “I have been clear from the start that a priority for us was recovering all those who died, and identifying and returning them to their families. I cannot imagine the agony and uncertainty that some families and loved ones have been through whilst we have carried out our meticulous search, recovery and identification process. It is vital that our search and identification operation was undertaken in a manner that families and loved ones could have complete confidence in.”
As well as the physical operation inside the Tower, police conducted an investigation into reports of missing people – a total of 400 people when the work began. This number was whittled down as people were found elsewhere – and as investigations confirmed some people had been reported missing more than once, sometimes under different spellings of the same name, for example.
There were also a small number of claims from individuals trying to claim compensation in respect of relatives who did not exist. Already one person has been convicted of fraud for doing so, and other cases are outstanding.
Police have also been able to report that CCTV and video taken from policy body cameras have recorded 223 people escaping from the Tower.
Investigations into the cause of the fire continue.