LIVE: Death toll expected to rise in London tower block catastrophe, as Theresa May promises investigation

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Reuters
    Grenfell Tower death toll expected to rise on Thursday morning. Theresa May promises “proper” investigation after blaze raged for 24 hours. Families and friends make desperate appeals for people trapped in building.

LONDON – The death toll in the Grenfell Tower disaster is expected to rise from the 12 fatalities confirmed on Wednesday, as firefighters were still tackling the blaze 24 hours after the building set alight.

Fire crew have been searching the 24-storey building in a bid to find any other victims, as families and friends make desperate appeals for people who were trapped in the inferno.

At least 12 people are known to have lost their lives, police said on Wednesday. A further 69 were injured, with 18 in a critical condition.

Firefighters were called to the residential tower at 12:54 a.m. (BST) on Wednesday, at a time when “several hundred” people were thought to have been inside. The fire is now all but extinguished and there are not thought to be any survivors inside.

Theresa May promises full investigation

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised a full investigation into the blaze. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but residents repeatedly warned about the building’s fire safety.

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Leon Neal / Getty

“There are people tonight who have no home to go to, they have lost absolutely everything, so our focus must be on support to them,” May said in a statement from Downing Street.

“In due course, when the scene is secure, when it’s possible to identify the cause of this fire, then of course there will be proper investigation and if there are any lessons to be learnt they will be, and action will be taken.”

An investigation could look into the role of May’s newly-appointed Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell. The former housing minister promised a review of building regulations covering fire safety, but was never published.

This story is developing.