London Apartment Fire That Killed 79 Began in Refrigerator, Police Say
Police say that the fire was not started deliberately in the 24-story Grenfell Tower.
The tragic June 14 fire in London that left a reported 79 people dead and nine more hospitalized is believed to have been caused be a refrigerator, according to police.
“We are also concerned about the fridge freezer in this matter and we have been working with the Department of Energy, Business and Industrial Strategy, who are working with Hotpoint [the manufacturer] on the safety of that fridge,” Fiona McCormack, Detective Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police, said in a statement Friday.
Police say that the fire was not started deliberately in the 24-story Grenfell Tower and flames raged through the building at an “unexpected” speed.
“We know that this fire wasn't started deliberately and we know that the fridge freezer in this matter has never been subject to a product recall before," McCormack added. "Further tests are ongoing on to that fridge."
The British government has ordered a test of the appliance. The specific model, FF175BG, has been discontinued since 2009.
The refrigerator manufacturer Hotpoint, is owned by Whirlpool.
“We are working with the authorities to obtain access to the appliance so that we can assist with the ongoing investigations," Whirlpool Corp said in a statement to Reuters. "Words cannot express our sorrow at this terrible tragedy."
On Friday, police said they are considering manslaughter charges, as well as health and safety and fire safety charges, against the West London building’s owners.
McCormack added that after tests were carried out to a small portion of insulation and cladding they did not pass public safety examinations and qualifications.
"There are two points of priority for me: The speed that it did spread through the building, but also the internal safety aspects of that building," she said. "On the first point we are examining with experts, the aluminum cladding and the insulation behind the cladding, how the tiles were fixed to the building and how it was installed.
“Preliminary tests on the insulation samples collected from Grenfell Tower showed that they combusted soon after the test started. The initial tests on the cladding tiles also failed the safety tests."
Following the tragedy at the apartment building, British artists including The Who’s Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, Queen’s Brian May, Robbie Williams, Liam Payne, Stormzy and Rita Ora, have been recruited by Simon Cowell to record a cover of Simon and Garfunkle’s classic “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
Proceeds raised by the single will benefit victims of the fire. Cowell himself has donated more than $126,000 of his own money.
“You kind of think, what can I do?" Cowell told the Mirror. "Do you donate some money? And I was thinking, 'Well maybe we could do a little more than that.' In all the years of doing this I have never felt so emotional. It was unbelievably powerful and sincere."
London soccer teams Chelsea and Arsenal will donate funds raised by an upcoming game, the FA Community Shield, to the victims as well.
The teams, which will face off on August 6 at London’s Wembley Stadium, have also invited survivors, families of victims, and emergency service personnel to attend the match.
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