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'Grenfell Tower cladding replaced with flammable aluminum panels'

The cladding on the 24-story Grenfell Tower block in London has been widely blamed for the quick spread of the flames in the 120-apartment building on June 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

British media have said that cheap materials were used for the refurbishment of London’s Grenfell Tower which was engulfed by flames two weeks ago.

According to a published report in The Times on Friday, fire-resistant zinc cladding was replaced with more flammable aluminum panels to save nearly 300-hundred thousand pounds based on the decision of a London local government council.

The aluminum cladding is suspected of having helped spread the fire that claimed at least 80 lives.The building reportedly was home to about 600 people, mainly Muslims and other ethnic minorities. 

The report comes after the council on Thursday abruptly ended its first meeting since the disaster. The decision came after council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown apologized for the authority's response to the fire.

Earlier, police confirmed that the exact number of people killed in London’s Grenfell block fire will remain unknown until at least the end of this year.

"What I can say is that we believe that around 80 people are either dead or sadly missing and I must presume that they are dead," Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the UK government says 149 tower blocks in 45 areas have failed tests on the flammability of their cladding. The number of endangered buildings has risen steadily since the government ordered a full review of high-rise blocks around the country.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to support victims of London high-rise deadly fire, a day after she was met by enraged protesters who were crying at her “coward” and “murderer.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn blasted May over her failure to re-house the Grenfell survivors two weeks after the tragedy.

She had pledged to re-house everybody in the same area in three weeks.

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