LONDON—An investigation into the deadly fire at a London public housing apartment tower could last for years and is already the largest ever carried out by London's Metropolitan Police outside of cases involving terrorism.
So far, police have confirmed 79 deaths at Grenfell Tower from the June 14 fire, blaming the lack of clarification on the number of victims due to the severity of damage.
"In total we have made 87 recoveries, but I must stress that the catastrophic damage inside Grenfell Tower means that is not 87 people," said Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police. "Until formal identification has been completed to the Coroner's satisfaction I cannot say how many people have now been recovered."
The investigation has centered on the exterior composite cladding used in a renovation at Grenfell. Police previously identified two types: Reynobond, which consists of two aluminium sheets with a polyethylene core sandwiched in between, and is produced by New York-based Arconic Inc.; and Reynolux prepainted aluminium sheet, also from Arconic.
Beneath these sheets, and fixed to the outside of the walls of the flat, was Celotex RS5000 PIR thermal insulation, from Celotex, a Saint-Gobain company. The investigation is looking at whether the renovation used panels not properly rated for fire resistance on a high rise tower.
British television's Channel 4 aired a report July 10 showing that another product, Kingspan Group p.l.c's Koolterm K15 phenolic panel, was used in some areas of the tower, although the maker of the paneling said it did not know the material was on the building.
Remnants of the material can be seen on damaged parts of the tower, according to the report.
Kingspan told Channel 4 that the non-compliant use of Kooltherm would "never be acceptable to Kingspan. Kingspan is very confident that properly installed and specified our products deliver safe, reliable and energy efficient insulation solutions."
The company said it would have no other statement due to the ongoing investigation.
Since the fire, both Celotex and Arconic have curtailed the supply of the product for some projects.