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London’s Grenfell Tower to be covered up

Grenfell Tower
Image caption The deconstruction of the tower is expected to begin towards the end of 2018

Grenfell Tower will be covered in a protective wrap to help with forensic investigations, the site manager has said.

Michael Lockwood told a public meeting on Wednesday that the charred building would be covered in August.

He said that he expected the demolition of the block, where at least 80 people died, would begin “towards the end of 2018”.

He added that some possessions could be retrieved from 33 of the block’s flats.

Speaking at the Notting Hill Methodist Church, Mr Lockwood said the recovery operation in the Kensington tower block could last until November this year.

The criminal investigation into the building – which requires material to be collected – could go on until January.

The covering of the 24-storey tower block will use scaffolding, which Mr Lockwood said would aid workers in demolishing the building.

Image caption Workers continue to comb through tonnes of debris from the site for remains and evidence

He said: “I think that to be honest, the building will stay up throughout 2018.

“Then towards the end of 2018, I think we could start to bring it down, if that is what the community wants, and the scaffolding will help us to do that because we can do that within the wrap.”

Any decision on what happens to the site after its deconstruction would be made with input from the community, he added.

Some flats in the building remain “completely untouched and in perfect condition” he said, while others are devastated.

There are some 33 flats in the block from which some possessions could be retrieved and returned to residents “in the next week or so”, he added.

Memorial service

A memorial service for five of the residents who perished in the fire is being held later at St Helen’s Church in North Kensington.

The service, to be attended by the Archbishop of York, will remember artist Khadiya Saye and her mother Mary Mendy, Berktki Haftom and her 12-year-old son Beruk, and a five-year-old boy called Isaac.

Meanwhile, experts who recovered remains after the 9/11 attack in New York are helping police investigators comb through debris from fire.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey said last week that 200 officers would be sifting through 15 tonnes of debris “until Christmas time”.

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