London police say fridge accident caused tower fire

Death toll rises to 79 as investigation continues

London police have come to the conclusion that the fire that burned down a 24-story apartment high-rise and killed dozens was caused by an accident involving a refrigerator freezer of the Hotpoint brand. Tests are still being done on the refrigerator with the cooperation of the manufacturer; neither the manufacturer nor the government had previously issued a recall for the model.

Currently, the death toll from the fire has risen to 79 people, but that number could still rise as forensic and recovery work continues. Just on June 23, a little over a week after the fire, nine additional victims have been officially identified. Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said that it’s possible the toll will not be made final until 2018. She also said that they are examining the hundreds of emergency calls and surveillance camera footage to make sure every victim is accounted for, especially considering the challenge of people who were trying to keep hidden from the government for purposes of concealing immigration status.

Because of the massive loss of life, police are definitely weighing on whom to place charges of manslaughter and other criminal offenses. McCormack said that the investigation is now trying to determine how the fire spread so quickly, although early results say that shoddy building material may be the culprit. “Preliminary tests show the insulation samples collected from Grenfell Tower combusted soon after the test started,” McCormack said.

The British government has since taken it upon themselves to carry out a mass inspection of similarly constructed apartment buildings. According to Prime Minister Theresa May, the authorities plan to test 100 buildings a day to determine if cladding on other buildings are similarly combustible and in danger of causing a fire. According to reports from NPR, 11 towers have already been identified by the testing initiative.

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