LONDON – British Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday there must be a “major national investigation” into the use of potentially flammable cladding fitted to high-rise towers across the country, as police formally identified a 5-year-old boy as one of youngest victims of London’s Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.
May’s comments came as tests show that all samples of building materials submitted so far – coming from 95 buildings around England – have failed fire safety standards.
The national testing was ordered after flammable cladding was blamed for the rapid spread of the June 14 inferno at west London’s Grenfell Tower, which claimed at least 79 lives.
The aluminum composite panels have been used for decades to help insulate buildings and improve their appearance, but the Grenfell disaster has prompted hard questions about their regulation.
Many local officials are now scrambling to remove similar cladding to prevent a similar tragedy.
Among those trapped in Grenfell Tower was 5-year-old Isaac Paulous, who died of inhaling fire fumes, Westminster Coroner’s Court officer Eric Sword said Monday.
Paulous, who lived with his family on the apartment tower’s 18th floor, perished as his family tried to escape the blaze.
“Isaac our beloved son was taken from us when he was only 5 years old,” his family said in a statement released by police. “We will all miss our kind, energetic, generous little boy.”
Paulous’ body was found on the building’s 13th floor and had to be identified through dental records.
Coroner Fiona Wilcox said that 18 of the victims have so far been formally identified. Work on identifying the others is complex and ongoing, she said.