LONDON, June 23 (Xinhua) -- London's Metropolitan Police said Friday the cladding attached to the 24-floor Grenfell tower block destroyed by fire has failed safety tests.
Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack of the Metropolitan Police, who is overseeing the investigation, said in a briefing that both the insulation and tiles at the Grenfell Tower had failed safety tests, with the insulation proving more flammable than the cladding.
She also said police have established the initial cause of the fire was a fridge-freezer in a flat at the fourth level, and that the fire was not started deliberately.
McCormack said the police are considering manslaughter charges as well as health and safety breaches against companies, organisations or individuals in relation to the fire, the worse fire in London since World War II. The investigation will probe whether the use of the cladding material at Grenfell Tower had been illegal.
She said the Met had already shared its findings with the government's Department for Communities and Local Government, recommending they immediately share the findings with town and city councils across the country.
McCormack said she feared more people could have been killed in the fire amid concerns some of the people living there had been in the country illegally. She issued a plea for information saying the police and the national immigration department had promised the legal status of victims of the fire would not be questioned.
So far 79 people have died or are missing presumed dead in the tragedy.
The way the fire spread, and the rapid speed of its spread through the building, leading to whole families being incinerated by the flames, is forming part of what was described as one of the biggest and most complex investigations by the Met.
An estimated 600 tower blocks across the country have facia cladding similar to that used in Grenfell Tower. Some local authorities have already started to remove cladding from buildings as a safety precaution, and to assure residents afraid to live in high rise towers.