LONDON (Reuters) - Queen Elizabeth visited residents, volunteers and emergency services at a centre helping those affected by London’s tower block fire on Friday, with grandson Prince William promising to return to hear residents’ concerns.
The queen met locals on her way into the Westway Sports Centre, which has been turned into a makeshift shelter after the blaze on Wednesday morning engulfed a 24-storey tower block and killed at least 30 people.
As the royals were leaving the centre, they were met with cheers but also anguished cries for help from a crowd of about 40 people.
One man held a poster of a missing person, and shouted that he wanted to speak to the queen about lost children. The queen waved to the crowd, and then hesitated before getting into her car.
Some continued to shout in desperation prompting William to respond: “I’ll come back, I’ll come back.”
Inside the sports centre, which has become a major hub for the relief effort and a shelter for those displaced in the fire, the queen and prince met volunteers and emergency services.
“It’s come over very strongly how good the community has been to help,” the queen said.
The fire in the block in west London burned for hours, and authorities fear that the official death toll of 30 is likely to rise, with many of the dead unlikely ever to be identified.
London Fire chief Dany Cotton said that the intensity of the blaze was unlike anything she had ever seen, sentiments echoed by the prince.
“That’s one of the most terrible things I have ever seen,” William told a volunteer.
Reporting by Hannah McKay, writing by Alistair Smout; editing by Michael Holden and Toby Davis