London tower block inferno: What we know

london-fireLONDON: Here is what we know so far about the disaster:

The victims

The death toll rose Friday to 30, but dozens more remain missing and authorities say they expect to find more remains in the charred remains of the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, which was home to around 600 people in a working-class enclave of west London’s super-wealthy Kensington district.

Two days after the fire broke out early Wednesday in the local authority-owned apartment block, firefighters were yet to access some of the floors due to worries about the stability of the structure.

Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali, a civil engineering student who wanted to help rebuild his war-torn homeland one day, was the first victim named.

Photographer Khadija Saye, 24, who recently had her work shown at the Venice Biennale, has also been named as among the dead.

Police have warned some of the victims may never be identified due to the state of the remains.

How did the fire spread so fast?

Police commander Stuart Cundy said there was nothing to suggest the fire was started deliberately.

The 120-apartment tower was quickly engulfed with flames after the blaze broke out shortly before 1:00am Wednesday, and witnesses reported seeing the fire racing up the exterior walls.

This has led to questions over whether a major refurbishment of the building last year could have encouraged the fire to spread.

Anger has focused over the cladding used to cover its surface. It had a plastic core and was similar to that used by high-rise buildings in France, the United Arab Emirates and Australia which had also suffered fires that spread.

The Times newspaper reported that the company that manufactured the cladding also made fire-resistant models that cost fractionally more than the standard version.

Construction firm Rydon, which carried out the refurbishment, said the work “met all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards”.

Questions have also been raised over why there was no sprinkler system in the tower which could have helped stop the fire spreading, or a central smoke alarm system that would have woken sleeping residents.

How have authorities responded?

The government has ordered a judge-led inquiry into the disaster, which is under pressure to act quickly.

Prime Minister Theresa May came under criticism for not meeting residents when she visited the disaster site Thursday to talk with emergency service chiefs.

She returned Friday to meet survivors, residents and volunteers at a local church — but faced cries of “coward” and “shame on you”.

She also met with injured survivors in hospital and announced a £5 million ($6.4 million, 5.7 million euro) fund for emergency supplies, food and clothing.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid said inspections of similar buildings had been ordered, with particular attention to the modern cladding used to beautify and add insulation to ageing concrete and steel structures.

He also said survivors from the tower would be re-housed in the local area.