LONDON (AP) — London police say the death toll in a major apartment building fire has increased to 17 people and is likely to rise even further.
Police Commander Stuart Cundy says there is no suggestion the blaze was terror-related. Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton says specialist dogs would start searching the 24-story building.
The fire gutted the Grenfell Tower apartment building in the North Kensington neighborhood early Wednesday morning. Police say the blaze was so extreme, one like it has not been seen ‘in years’. The tower houses more than 120 apartments and between 400 and 600 people.
Police say a large number of the residents remain unaccounted for and it is unclear how many were home when the fire started.
Meanwhile, 44 households were given emergency accommodation after the blaze. The local council says families with young children, elderly residents and the vulnerable were given “immediate priority.”
Country leaders are showing their respects to victims and first responders as the investigation continues.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has visited the site of the high-rise fire to tour the devastation.
May didn’t speak with journalists during the visit. On Wednesday, she promised a “proper investigation” into the cause of the blaze.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have also paid tribute to London firefighters whose bravery prevented a greater loss of life.
The monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh also hail volunteers offering support to dozens of victims from the devastating blaze.
The queen says “Prince Philip and I would like to pay tribute to the bravery of firefighters and other emergency services officers who put their own lives at risk to save others.”