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Fire Victims Escalates in London's Inferno; GOP Members Targeted; Trump Facing New Challenge. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 15, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: Hello and welcome to viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

MAX FOSTER, HOST, CNN: I'm Max Foster. We begin -- we begin here in west London with the aftermath and the investigation into the massive apartment fire.

At least 12 people are dead and dozens more injured, but it's feared the death toll will certainly rise. Right now, fire officials say it's too soon to tell what caused Grenfell Tower to go up in flame. We also don't know how many people are still missing. Firefighters are still searching for victims. Many may have been asleep when the fire broke out.

One of the biggest issues for investigators is just how quickly the fire spread. Residents saying they raised concerns about fire safety for years here and recent renovations to the buildings exterior will be a big focus.

The stories we're hearing from witnesses have been horrific. Some say whilst all 24 floors of the tower was on fire, they saw residents jumped from the building to escape.


MOHAMAD BOWYA, WITNESS: I saw two people jump out. I couldn't tell you if they were kids, if they were teenagers or they were adults. We could hear people crying get us out. Get us out. I was actually told the people that were on that side before the fires started, we are just on the left side and were told to stay in the building until they contained that small little bit. Which I think the fire brigade when I got there was only four fire brigade.

I think they didn't realize that the flammable that was on the new refurbishment that they've done on the building was going to just in flame like that.


FOSTER: Lots of questions today. Prime Minister Theresa May promising a full investigation into what happened.


the recovery is complete, then an investigation will take place into the cause of the fire. And if there were any lessons to be learned. But until then our focus must be on ensuring that the emergency services have what they need to continue their harrowing work and that help and support is being provided to all those who have suffered as a result of this tragedy.



FOSTER: Well, I'm showing you is Matt Wrack, he is the general secretary of the Fire Brigade's Union. You represent guys in there, you have not had a chance to speak to them, have you, because they've been freaked out.


MATT WRACK, GENERAL SECRETARY, FIRE BRIGADES UNION: No, I've been out of London till this morning. This is my first visit to the scene and I will be meeting people after this, yes.

FOSTER: They have to contend with the horrific situation. What's your first question here. Because your members are meant to go in the building and tackle the upper floors from inside but weren't able to do that.

WRACK: Yes. Well, I don't know that there has been reports of some sort of delay, but clearly firefighters were very high up in the building and that surrounds much of the incident. My biggest question is how this happened. I mean, it is an appalling scene and we've never seen anything on this scale in the U.K. and there are construction of the building should confine the fire to the flats of floors of origin and clearly that's not what's happened.

So the whole fire protection about which the safety of the residence is based and then the safety of firefighters is based is completely broken down. So that's the question.

FOSTER: And the most fundamental level because there were no alarms going off either.

WRACK: Well, normally there would not be a communal fire alarm in residential flats because of the risk that one flat sets off elsewhere. So that's not necessarily surprising. It needs to be looked at and it's not necessarily surprising and they would expect individual flats to have smoke alarms.

The question really I think is about the construction, the fire protection built into the building whether that was compromise and if so how that was compromised. Because firefighters arriving would have expected there would have procedures to deal with a fire in a flat or a particular floor. They would not be remotely expecting what they saw which resulted the whole building...


FOSTER: The whole building and what's going on. A lot of fingers being pointed in terms of that at the cladding. Because people described how the fire spread on the outside of the building straight up over the top and back down the other side. Is that your concern as well? How much of a cladding has been in the past?

WRACK: Clearly a concern. I don't want to prejudge any investigation. We are aware of fires elsewhere in Britain on different scales and elsewhere in the world where cladding are piece to have an impact on that rapid fire spread outside of the building.

FOSTER: How does that work?

WRACK: Well, I think the question will be -- you know, did the -- again, I don't want to preempt any investigation.


WRACK: The cladding will clearly be required to meet standards, has it been applied properly. I think there are other questions are about the refurbishment, you know, the idea of compartments lies in the fire. It means that it relies on fire resistant walls, ceilings, doors, floors and so on. Has refurbishment altered any of that as well.

[03:05:01] FOSTER: Because the fires moving outside of the building how much...


WRACK: All of those questions need to be addressed. We don't know and we are hearing reports on what the cladding may have been. The question will have to be was it appropriate cladding?


WRACK: Was it fitted correctly. Those questions need to be asked, we don't have the answers to those...


FOSTER: And lots of the death toll is expected to rise, the commission are talking about. Presumably that's because, you know, if we look at the state of the building, bodies are not going to resist in the way that they would have with ordinary fires.

WRACK: Yes. I think firefighters obviously as soon as they finish this rescue stage, they started to search floor by floor to find people who have become victims. As you say, the scale of the heat and fire will have made that very difficult. As you say, it does appear there are likely to be increases in the number of people who have been killed.

FOSTER: OK. I know you're going to speak to firefighters, so our thoughts are with them today. Thank you very much indeed. Our Phil Black is on the other side of the building as well, speaking

to survivors and they are rebuilding what they can.

PHIL BLACK, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, Max. To begin with, though, I think you have to agree this building what remains of it it does make for an extraordinary sight this different. So very different, so still compared to what we were watching 24 hours ago when we saw those flames leaping from the windows and the tower of black smoke climbing into the London sky.

Now this morning a clear sky and just that hawking black charred monolith that remains. That's where firefighters have been working through the night to deal with any enduring flames to extinguish the smoldering ruins. That's because one part of the response to all of this and the other is to give the practical support that is needed for all the people who live there. They called that building home.

A short distance from where I'm standing, there is a support center where there today literally a mountain of donated goods, clothing, food, day to day basics and things that children need. All of that sort of stuff. That's what the community has come together and I suspect from across London as well to provide all of that sort of material.

And then in addition to dealing with those practical needs, there is of course dealing with the trauma that the people in this neighborhood experienced after everything all the awful things they saw that night.

Of the most powerful accounts I heard came from a local person. A nurse, Simone Williams who woke up in the middle of the night and saw what was happening and rushed to help. This is what she told me.


SIMONE WILLIAMS, NURSE: Huge inferno of flame just going up. People waves white flags or t-shirts out the window and screaming and shouting. And it was all cordoned off, so I went to the cordon and I said look, I'm a nurse, can I help. So they said yes and they sent me to the area where I would help.

So I was helping with the walking wounded. And what I know is, there was a lot of people coming out. They were wet with wet towels. It was quite cold. It was two to three in the morning. So I started to knock on doors and call people to get blankets and just to keep people warm.

I've never seen anything like it in my like and I hope I never see anything like that again in my life. There was a particular woman that really stuck with me and she came out and she was fine, but she was very shaken. And she can't find her 12-year-old daughter. And to this point I don't know if she found that 12-year-old daughter.


BLACK: So she is touching there on aspects of the personal suffering that she felt that so far very difficult to quantify. That is those who knew and loved people who were in that building. But they simply haven't heard from them. They don't know what happened to them. These people are missing.

Now we haven't heard from authorities a total figure for the unaccounted. But what it means is that there are people here in London this morning coming to terms with that terrible weight and ultimately that worst possible fear. The very likelihood that the people they know and love who are now missing could very well have perished in that building behind me, Max.

FOSTER: Phil, thank you. We are expecting an update from the fire service in the next half hour or so here. so we'll bring that to people for the latest overnight for an update.

We've been talking to many people who lived near the apartment building as well, shocked by what they witnessed. One neighbor who rushed to try to help is Ousama Itani, he's me now. Our thoughts wit you because it's not just the people directly affected, but those that saw what happened. Just describe what you saw and how you are dealing with that?

OUSAMA ITANI, WITNESS: We woke up in a very traumatic state and we heard sirens and helicopters and people screaming. I mean, I live, I'm just staying with relatives down the road here and about maybe less than a kilometer away from the tower, and we actually could hear people screaming from the tower saying help me, help my children.

[03:10:05] And that woke us up and instantly started the whole traumatic scene. We rushed down and basically watched the fire burning for seven or eight hours before we headed home.

FOSTER: So you have to see people at the windows?

ITANI: Yes. We saw, I watched one person at the window for about three hours in one of the unburned sort of areas where the firefighters were focusing their water cannons. We just didn't know what would happen to that person going from window to window, opening and closing the windows.

FOSTER: Because no one was being allowed near the block either where the firefighters will kept them away for obvious reasons.

ITANI: Yes. We were behind a police cordon for the whole time and obviously for safety concerns as well, but we had clear sight of the fire and as it moved across the building and just increased. All the explosions we could hear as pieces of the cladding and glass were coming off of the building. And so obviously keeping a distance was important.

FOSTER: So now the focus is on survival but also all this missing, right?

ITANI: Exactly.

FOSTER: And you got a note here.

ITANI: That's right. This was handed out at the local mosque Al Manaar last night. These are two missing girls who are on the 20th floor and their parents are actively searching for them.

FOSTER: So the parents were alive and the children are missing. What was their story?

ITANI: What we know so far is that friends and the parents are just searching for these girls from the 20th floor. And we don't know much more than that, but these kinds of flyers are all over and we saw them last night at the community centers where there's just been such a huge outpouring of support. We saw people donating from all over the region.


ITANI: Not even just from the area.

FOSTER: Just describe the block because it's huge, isn't it? It's a whole sort of town in itself. And this is the problem the authorities have got. They don't know who was in the building and who wasn't in the building. So they desperately asking people to check in with the police if they're OK.

ITANI: It's a big problem because extended families stay with people who on the books live in these flats.

FOSTER: Yes, in the big flats. All big flats.

ITANI: And they are big flats with three or four bedrooms. So what you expect is perhaps there are people in a flat, but in actuality it could be six, seven, or eight people, extended family staying with the tenants there.

And what we know is that also in this estate, there are extended families of people who are in the tower. So that's been a big help because those who were evacuated or had to escape had been able to stay with family members close by and start to rebuild their lives together with people they know.

FOSTER: A lot of people weren't awake which is, you know, a horrible situation to wake up obviously. A lot of people were awake though as well, because of Ramadan. So that was actually a blessing on this occasion because they were able to alert their neighbors.


ITANI: That's something that we did hear. Yes, we ourselves were up getting ready to have our meal before sunrise.


ITANI: And just starting to shouting from the window to get everybody arise and get everybody up and what we heard from a lot of people in the scene was that a lot of Muslim people in the region were able to, in the area, were able to help because they were up anyway and had the energy to come down to the street.

FOSTER: A lot of survivors suffered from smoke inhalation though as well. They were able to take the refreshments so they were really struggling yesterday.

ITANI: Yes, it's very hard. And it's an 18 hour fast for those who are fasting and to be outside in the sun helping people...


FOSTER: It's from 4 a.m. at the moment, is that -- yes.

ITANI: That's right.

FOSTER: OK. Thank you very much. Thoughts obviously with the parents of those poor girls and so many people trying to rebuild their lives. But you know, the priority is on those missing, isn't it, trying to locate them.

We hope to get an update to people from the fire service and the police in the coming hour. Officials say there is no further need for emergency housing for those affected by the fire. Thankfully people have been offering spare rooms and even paying for hotel rooms to help those left homeless.

Churches, mosques, and community centers also opening their doors providing food, clothing and bedding. Residents say Londoners have stood together as one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We opened up the church at 2 o'clock in the morning and just opened for space for people to come. Just to find their loved ones and their friends and then the generosity of the community have once been come in and donating clothes and food. It's been amazing. so we've just kind of trying to facilitate that and just to make sure the right people are getting the right things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There had been tried the flip side was that the community had come together. Everyone was coming out and giving supplies and helping each other. It brought the community together. This is, Londoners are a tight knit community. We always have been. This is just another show that you know, London can come together and resist any tragedy.


FOSTER: Never a truer word said. That's incredible actually. If you would like to see how you can help those affected by the London fire, do head to CNN impact your world web page Rosemary, there's incredible so some positivity at least coming out of this.

[03:15:09] CHURCH: Yes, exactly. I mean, there is anger, there is shock and sorrow, but we are seeing this incredible unity and solidarity and the aftermath of this tragedy.

And Max, we will come back to you very soon for more on all of this. We'll take a very short break, but still to come, President Trump could be facing new legal trouble. How his personal attorney is responding to reports of a possible obstruction of justice probe. Plus, a U.S. congressman and five others shot and wounded during

baseball practice. The latest on the victim's conditions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I watched my friend and fellow member Steve Scalise lying motionless on the field wondering if he was going to be OK. That is a picture I will never forget.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Donald Trump's legal troubles could get a lot worse. The Washington Post reports the Justice Department special counsel is investigating the president for possible obstruction of justice.

Robert Mueller was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday meeting with senators. The Post cites five people briefed on the situation who say Mueller is interviewing top intelligence officials as part of the probe.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump's personal attorney says the FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal. We do not know if the FBI is the source of the leak.

Well, during the Watergate scandal, John Dean served as Nixon's White House counsel. Famous for declaring there is a cancer growing on the presidency. He talked with CNN's Don Lemon about comparisons to the Trump administration.


JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL & CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What this story appears to be based on is the interview with intelligence officials where he apparently called them and asked them to intervene with Comey. This was before Comey was fired. And then of course Comey was fired by the president himself and he later stated his own intent was because of the Russia investigation.

So this is a prima fascia case here and it would be just an inevitable that the special counsel start looking at this and it's going to broaden the investigation considerably.

DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: Take us back to your Watergate experience. Is this comparable?

DEAN: You know, Don, I learned about those statutes the hard way by getting on the wrong side of them and watching my colleagues and debating about the statutes. And they are very broad, they are very confusing, they differ from different circuits in the federal system.

[03:20:03] So it's very easy to obstruct justice. The only hope that Trump can have is that for some reason this jurisdiction he's in doesn't think that an FBI investigation is a pending proceeding. This is something that scholars have been debating already for weeks

about Trump's actions. So we don't have a clear case and we have also evidence that there may be a clear case. It depends upon which line of cases happen to fall in with the facts that are emerging.


CHURCH: John Dean talking there with our Don Lemon.

Well, U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise will need more surgery after he was shot and wounded at a baseball game. The hospital says Scalise is in critical condition with injuries to his internal organs. He is the third highest ranking republican in the House of Representatives.

President Trump and first lady Melania visited the hospital where Scalise is being treated. Mr. Trump sat by his bed side and spoke to his family. Afterwards, the president tweeted, "Congressman Scalise is in tough shape, but he is a real fighter."

Well, three other people were also shot at that baseball field including a lobbyist who is in critical condition. The gunman was shot by police, but investigators have a pretty good idea about his motive.

CNN's Brian Todd reports.

BRIAN TODD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The gunfire captured on cell phone video by an eyewitness seemingly came out of nowhere aimed at members of Congress and their staffs.


MO BROOKS, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: I hear a big bam and I thought it was a car backfiring at first until I saw the rifle barrel and a white male taking careful aim at congressman and staffers and whoever he could get ahold of.


TODD: Witnesses say the gunman identified by police as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson appeared to be lying in wait with a long un behind the dugout at this Alexandria, Virginia YMCA baseball field. On the field republican representatives practicing for tomorrow's annual bipartisan congressional baseball game.


RODNEY DAVIS, UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: All of a sudden there were multiple gunshots were being fired.


TODD: It was just after 7 and Congressman Rodney Davis was at bat.


DAVIS: Somebody on the field yelling run, he's got a gun. I ran into the dugout like most people on the field.


TODD: Steve Scalise, the majority whip and the third ranking house republican was the first victim. He was in the infield.


JEFF FLAKE, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: He dragged himself from near second base about 10 or 15 yards into the field just to be I think a further away from the gunman. But he was lying motionless out there and so I wanted to get to him, but there were still shots going overhead from both sides.

And so finally when we heard that the shooter was down, I just ran low out to Steve. I started putting pressure on the wound.


TODD: A republican staffer now identified as Zack Barth was also hit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was shot but he was saying it wasn't bad at all, but I mean, there was a hole in his leg.


TODD: Capitol police officers assigned as a protective detail to Scalise because of his leadership position returned fire.


JOE BARTON, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: I saw at least two of them go towards the shooter. They were put their lives directionally in the line of fire.

FLAKE: Two of his detail were shot. One African-American gentlemen shot in the leg and I believe he is the one that brought the shooter down. He ran around for quite a while with a leg wound returning fire.


TODD: Witnesses are crediting the bravery of the officers with saving countless lives.


MARTY LAVOR, WITNESS: It was the Capitol police that saved us all. If it wasn't for the Capitol police, I would assume that everybody would have been killed this morning.


TODD: A total of four victims were shot including Congressman Scalise, lobbyist Matt Mika, staffer Zach Barth, and Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner.


DAVID: As I watched my friends and my fellow member Steve Scalise lay motionless on the field, wondering if he was going to be OK. That is a picture I will never forget.


TODD: The hail of gunfire evident in bullet holes as far away as the YMCA building as well as cars park on the other side as they try to find a motive, two members of Congress, Ron DeSantis and Jeff Duncan are pointing to a conversation they had with the shooter earlier this morning in a parking lot.


JEFF DUNCAN, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: He's asked me if this team was the republican or democrat team practicing. I responded that it was the republican team practicing and he proceeded to shoot republicans. Take that for what it's worth.


TODD: Law enforcement officials say the shooter; James Hodgkinson had been in the Alexandria, Virginia area since March, living out of his vehicle. Local residents says he'd been seen several times around the area of that baseball field and at the local YMCA right next to the field.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

[03:25:00] CHURCH: And lawmakers have been sharing their shock and dismay about the shooting. Among them, independent Senator Bernie Sanders, the gunman may have once volunteered for Sanders presidential campaign. Senator Sanders and others denounced the bloodshed.


BERNIE SANDERS, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: I am sickened by this despicable act and let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through non- violent action and anything else runs counter to our most deeply held American values.

PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We are united in our shock. We are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.

There is one image in particular that this House should keep. And that is a photo I saw this morning. Of our democratic colleagues gathered in prayer this morning after hearing the news. You know, every day we come here to test and to challenge each other. We feel so deeply about the things that we fight for and the things that we believe in. At times our emotions can clearly get the best of us. DAVIS: The hatefulness this political rhetoric hate, and you know,

will consider, we'll let the witnesses describe it, but this could be the first political rhetorical terrorist act. And that has to stop.

We can disagree on how to govern. That is what makes our country great. But I'm here because we're all Americans. And I think republicans and democrats need to use this day today to stand together and say stop. Let's work together. Let's get things done. We can have our differences, but let's not let it lead to such hate.


CHURCH: And it's worth noting the annual charity ball game between democrats and republicans will take place as scheduled Thursday night at Nationals Park in Washington.

It's time for a short break here, but we will head back to west London for the very latest on the investigation into the deadly fire there.


FOSTER: Welcome back. I'm here in west London where investigators are looking to what's been called an unprecedented fire, really one of the worst in Britain for many years and that's certainly in living memory.

[03:30:03] At least a dozen people were killed in the Grenfell tower apartment fire but there are fears that the number will almost certainly rise now. One of the biggest concerns is that we still don't know how many people are missing.

We heard from a number of people who have friends and loved ones who lived here and they have not heard from them since the fire broke out early on Wednesday morning more than 24 hours ago now. We do know that London's Fire Brigade has rescued at least 65 people so far from the tower and almost 80 people are being treated at hospitals, 18 still in the critical condition.

CNN spoke to many witnesses and residents who recounted their terrifying experiences at Grenfell Tower. A nurse spoke to us as she saw people were hanging from the windows and screaming for help.


WILLIAMS: I witnessed people hanging out of the window with makeshift flags and just winding them and screaming and the screams were quite piercing. And there was one point in the night it was almost like about 30 to 40 males appeared from somewhere.

And because of the police cordon, and they were trying to rush towards the building and it was like why you're trying to, and they said our wives are in there, our families are in there, our children are in there.

We were trying to explain you can't go in there because you will then become a casualty. But how do you someone to not save their wife to not save their child? (END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Well angry residents say they have expressed concerns for years about fire safety at the tower, and now there are questions about whether recent renovations to the building's exterior caused the fire to spread more quickly.

Fred Pleitgen has more on that.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The first fire crews that arrived at the Grenfell tower said they were surprised at how quickly the flames were spreading, eating their way up the side of the high-rise so fast, many couldn't escape in time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard people screaming. Save my child. Things that I don't want to repeat. But they were screaming in stress.

PLEITGEN: They were trapped in the building?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were trapped in the building. They were under their dress.


PLEITGEN: But in all the sorrow serious questions about the building's emergency plan and its safety. The most recent guidance by the office managing the property from a newsletter to residents from 2014 telling occupants to stay in their apartments if there is a fire. That guidance while not uncommon for high-rises may have proofed deadly in this case.

DAVID COLLINS, FORMER CHAIRMAN, GRENFELL TOWER RESIDENT'S ASSOCIATION: The lights didn't work for the first 10 floors. So it was complete darkness. There was just, there was no evacuation procedure.


PLEITGEN: A local advocacy group went even further repeatedly calling the building's fire safety inadequate in the past years after the local council invested millions refurbishing the tower.

Writing in its blog on Wednesday, "All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted a catastrophe like this was inevitable in just a matter of time."

Residents who escaped the blaze and other witnesses say they believed the cladding on the building's exterior may have fanned the flames. The company that installed the cladding on the exterior of the London apartment building said in a statement that it is aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding to the tower.

A councilwoman telling CNN she believes local authorities are not to blame.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, people had been flagging off their concerns about the building, but as you probably know we've just -- the council had just done a refurbishment on it during which obviously we hoped and we felt with our contractors that we had dealt with all those concerns.


PLEITGEN: The main contractor for the refurbishment says the work met, quote, "all the required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards."

This community has been devastated by the Grenfell tower fire. Many residents still unaccounted for and for those who escaped, all are now displaced.

The authorities here say for the moment their main priority is still dealing with the fire and its aftermath. But they acknowledge that the many people who were affected will have some serious questions and that officials will need to provide honest answers.

And as the grief mounds, so does the anger many here feel at the 40s they believe they neglected their concerns until tragedy struck.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, London.

FOSTER: Well, in the aftermath of this tragedy, anger certainly is growing in the community here and so is the demand for answers.

The front page of some of the British newspapers give you an idea of the prevailing feeling this Thursday morning here in the U.K. The Guardian's front page shows a picture of the apartment tower engulfed in flames with the caption "the warnings were ignored."

The Sun's front page shows the raging fire with the head line "they were told it was safe." "How the hell could it happen." That's what the Daily Mail's front page is demanding to know. And the Times has a similar picture with a banner "disaster in 15 minutes." That's how quickly it spread apparently. And the Mirror is expressing anger using just word. "Deathtrap."

[03:35:06] Now earlier, our Christianne Amanpour spoke to a British Member of Parliament and former firefighter about this disaster.


JAMES FITZPATRICK, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY M.P.: Engineering solutions of suppression systems like fire sprinkles could have prevented this fire from taking hold and would have prevented anybody from dying. I've been to Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona as the sprinkler fire capital of the world, nobody dies in fires in sprinkler buildings.

We've got the technology to be able to make sure that this kind of event should have been happening, but it takes money and it takes political will. These are the questions that the old party group had been asking and pressing for a number of years. And so like housing enquiry and we will continue to press them and government will have to come up with answers.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: So you know, we have heard that no sprinklers went off and no fire alarms went off. The people just did not hear or you know, they didn't have the basic minimum there. That's what we heard from al the residents. How is that possible? This building we also understand had a 10 million pound refurb just in the last year or so.

FITZPATRICK: Indeed. And we have been asking for a review of the building regulations and the way that these buildings should be protected and the systems that should be introduced, alarm systems and sprinkler systems and modern technology which wasn't available 40 years ago when this was first constructed, but the refurbishment last year with nearly 10 million pounds being spent could have introduced better systems.

There will be question marks about cladding coats at the building and whether it contributed to the fire. As I say these are very scientific technical questions and the expense they are going to have to conduct that enquiry to answer the public and the questions that everyone has are still why it happened and how it happened and why so many people have lost their lives as a result of this fire on the back of the fire in 2009. That should have been our wakeup call and clearly hasn't been the case.


FOSTER: Well, joining me now is Ian Burgess. He is the professor of structural engineering at the University of Sheffield. Obviously we are at the very early stage on this. We haven't had the investigation back, but there was a failure here, wasn't it, in the building because the fire couldn't be controlled once it started.


FOSTER: What would you be looking at as a first protocol investigation if you were doing it now?

BURGESS: Well, I think from the photos it was quite clear that the fire spread extremely quickly up the face of the building. Now, fires do spread vertically from floor to floor, but that's generally quite a slow process.

It's generally a matter of flame bursting through windows on below the lower floor and then attaching to the face of the building and bursting the windows on the next floor and then the fire has to establish on that floor and so it continues. This was clearly a very rapid transmission of flame up the front of the building.

FOSTER: And the only thing that we can look to there is this cladding that they put on as part of the refurb which was only finished last year.

BURGESS: Yes. It amazes me... (CROSSTALK)

FOSTER: How common this problem is about?


FOSTER: How common is this problem with cladding? This is...

BURGESS: I really can't say. In general that's not the scope of the work that I have done. Most of our work at Sheffield has been on the stability of the structure itself. Looking at whether the building itself will collapse or suffer irremediable damage in a fire. What the cladding is actually filled with is very much a matter for an individual contract.

FOSTER: But because of this fashion for cladding this sort of 60s and 70s buildings, certainly here in the U.K., it's the fact that you are now having to consider the design of the building, right? Because your focus is largely on preventing or dealing with the fire as it rises through the center of the building, but now you got this issue where it's on the outside. This is, you know, an example of whole world has probably looking at right now.

BURGESS: Yes, well, absolutely. There have been cladding fires which have spread very rapidly up buildings in recent years. So, the notable one was in the center of Dubai beginning of last year.

[03:39:58] And so the problem is known about, but this cladding tiles do burn if they are subjected to high temperatures and certainly covering them an aluminum is covering them the material will melt and then expose the contents.

What make -- make could make it even worse is if the cladding panels are at a distance from the face of the old building. There isn't fire stopping at each floor level. That's absolutely key to preventing vertical fire spread in buildings.

FOSTER: And there was also an issue inside as we understand it. Because the firefighters don't seem to have been able to get into this internal shot which is meant to be in modern tower blocks. And you can get up to the upper floors. So a fundamental problem with the structure or the way the fire moved through that.

BURGESS: Well, I think if the post flash over fires are effectively happening in a large number of apartments, it's fairly clear that smoke, very large amounts of smoke are going to -- is going to get into the emergency shock especially if there is only one shock.

FOSTER: OK. Ian Burgess, thank you. There is going to be all sorts of analysis around the investigation here. We are waiting to hear the results of that, but still a rescue are going on in effect in the building as it smolders away.

Thank you for joining us.

The fire that tore through Grenfell tower might have killed more people if weren't for a group who happened to be awake at the time. Many Muslims were up preparing for prayers and a special meal during the holy month of Ramadan. They saw what was happening and they jumped to the rescue. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait for the call of the prayers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it wasn't because of Ramadan and people having their last supper, the lives were saved because of that. Because they were awake and they felt the fire quickly and they saw the heat so they just ran out. Because if it was like a normal day, they would be asleep and there were cause a lot of casualties.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As you can see just behind me, there is a communal (Inaudible) which is taking place and everyone is standing together and I think that's the most important thing that has come out of this tragic event. At least we are here standing together and supporting our community members in this tragic -- on this tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of people are Muslim, there's a lot of people that are Christian. Do you what's the result there is a lot of people. That's all that matters. Forget everything else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best thing about today has been seen how generous people are. Especially at times when things are quite tense. Everyone has come together and everyone has come here to support the people. It doesn't matter what color skin we have, it doesn't matter where we're from, it doesn't matter what chapter we represent. Every single person is here to make sure the people who are affected and the people who need help the most have got the help.


FOSTER: Certainly that help was available yesterday as the community came together. But longer term, there are hundreds of people are now homeless, they need long-term homes. And there are long quest to get into flats like this.

So it's a big problem for the local authorities, Rosemary, and it's something that they are trying to address today while at the government level they are trying to figure out what they can learn from this and prevent it from happening again.

CHURCH: Absolutely. Thanks so much, Max. We are going to come back to you in just a moment. We'll take a very short break.

But a gunman opens fire on U.S. congressmen playing baseball. The latest on his apparent targets and motive. That is still to come. Stay with us.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Police say at least 19 people were killed in an attack on a hotel and restaurant in Mogadishu in Somalia. The attackers blew up a car bomb and opened fire on both buildings. Sources told Reuters that gunmen held hostages in the restaurant for

several hours but security forces eventually took control after a shootout with those gunmen killing five of them. The Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for that attack.

A Washington hospital said Congressman Steve Scalise will need more surgery after he was shot during a practice baseball game. The Louisiana republican is in critical condition with damage to his internal organs.

CNN's Anderson Cooper has more on the shooting that left the congressman and five others wounded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots being fired and there are people running with victims involved.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: At 7.09 a.m., shots fired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still got shots being fired.

COOPER: It was a congressional baseball team practice for a charity game that abruptly turned into a morning of terror.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Walking around the baseball field I saw a man with a very large gun.

DAVIS: Within a few seconds, all of a sudden there were multiple gunshots being fired.


COOPER: The gunman firing bullets on a quiet suburban baseball field in the community of Del Ray located in Alexandria, Virginia just seven miles from the Capitol. Four people were struck, among them House majority whip Steve Scalise, the number three republican in the House of Representatives.


FLAKE: The Congressman played second base, fielding some of the batting practice there. He just batted a few guys before. He dragged himself off of the infield into the outfield about 10 or 15 yards.


COOPER: Representative Scalise hit in the hip and crawled his way out of the line of fire. But it was multiple acts of courage, colleagues helping colleagues that helped save the day.

Representative Brad Wenstrup who served as a combat surgeon in Iraq attended to Scalise.


BRAD WENSTRUP, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: It was like I was back in Iraq as a surgeon and Steve was conscious and OK.


COOPER: Representative Mo Brooks provided a tourniquet for a colleague bleeding badly.


BROOKS: You can see the bullet hole in his calf, and you know, it's not OK. I took off my belt as myself and other congressmen, I don't remember who applied a tourniquet and tried to slow down the bleeding.


COOPER: The heroes of the day Capitol police officers who were there already on protective duty for Representative Scalise, they immediately returned fire. Alexandria police arrive minutes later and also exchanged bullets with the gunmen.


CHUCK FLEISCHMANN, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Thank God from the Capitol police there guarding our majority whip. Because we were sitting ducks in that dugout. When I got in the dugout, there was blood all over the place. It was not a good place to be.


COOPER: Along with Scalise, three others were shot and injured. Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner, also Matt Micah, a Tyson Foods lobbyist and former congressional staffer and Zachary Barth, a staff member for Representative Roger Williams. The president today calling for unity.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capital is here because, above all, they love our country.


[03:49:57] CHURCH: CNN's Anderson Cooper reporting there. And late Wednesday President Trump and his wife Melania visited the Congressman Scalise and his family at the hospital.

Mr. Trump sat by his bed side and spoke to his family. Afterwards the president tweeted "Congressman Scalise is in very tough shape, but he is a real fighter."

Well, more charges have been filed in the ongoing criminal investigation into the tainted water supply of the city of Flint in the State of Michigan. The state attorney general on Wednesday announced charges of involuntary manslaughter against five state and city officials. The legal action grew out of two deadly outbreaks of legionnaire's

disease that were blamed on the city's dirty water. Nick Lyon, the current director of Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services was among those being charged.


BILL SCHUETTE, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MICHIGAN: Mr. Lyon failed in his responsibilities to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Flint. After allegedly being informed of the growing legionnaire situation in Flint, Nick Lyon failed to inform the public of this health threat. A threat which cost the life of Robert Skidmore.


CHURCH: The legionnaire's outbreaks led to 12 deaths and more than 80 people became ill. We'll take a short break here, but still to come, a city standing together. How Londoners from all walks of life are supporting each other after the horrific fire there.


FOSTER: Welcome back to west London. The investigation for the deadly apartment fire here is really just beginning. But one of the main focuses really will be how the fire spread from floor to floor so quickly in a matter of minutes as we understand it.

The building recently had undergone major renovations that meant to be concluded last year and included replacing the cladding on the outside of the building that will certainly be an area of interest for the investigators, though the contractor who did the work said all buildings and safety regulations had been met.

Residents also say they had raised fire safety concerns for years before this tragedy. So many levels of investigation right now. We know a dozen people were killed, that numbers will almost certainly rise those because they are still combing through the building.

Seventy eight are hospitalized, 18 are critical. So huge amount of concern and also relatives are wondering where they are missing are. Are they caught up in a hospital, are they in a sanctuary of some sort or are they tragically still in the building?

It's impossible to imagine that anyone has managed to survive that even though firefighters are continuing to try to look for survivors. We're still at that officially part of that phase of the operation.

Praise pouring in for those firefighters. They ran into a burning tower of the likes they've never seen to save lives. And just as neighbors went out of their way to help the survivors, the brigade says first responders went above and beyond to get people out.


[03:55:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At its height, over 40 appointees and over 250 firefighters were tackling what was a significant and serious fire. You have heard the commissioner mention that this was an unprecedented fire in terms of scale, speed, and spread. I'm extremely proud of the efforts of our firefighters in bringing this fire under control and what is a traumatic and difficult incident.


FOSTER: We can see the commissioner of the London fire service and she has been saying, she is rushing to get back to the scene because this is still an ongoing operation. But what she is describing is this great difficulty in knowing who was in the building at the time. And how they identified people who may have perished. Due to the ferocity of the fire is very difficult.

You can imagine it's just ash largely in the building and they are trying to make sense of this. So they are still appealing for people to get in touch if they knew people were in the building at the time or indeed if they know that they are safe. They are trying to tally up all those numbers and it's very, very difficult indeed.

She is also been describing the challenges of four of the firefighters going into the building which at the time they thought could collapse. As you can see it's still standing, but in the midst of the fire, they didn't know whether it would collapsed in the same way it did during 9/11, for example.

She was comparing it into that how she felt sick actually, Rosemary, watching her firefighters go in with those memories of 9/11 and all the firefighters that died in that. But they carried on with that anyway. We're going to speak to Rosemary a bit later on about the international reaction to this as well.

But really a nightmare unfolding yesterday and a new nightmare beginning for all the survivors who strangely enough are the lucky ones but now they are the homeless and they got to find new homes and they got to find you know, find out what happened to their families as well and deal with that.

There is so much to think about here and a lot of anger bubbling up as well. It has to be said about how this was allowed to happen. People understand the fire start but how can we end up in a situation where firefighters couldn't go in and people had to die.

We'll have more on this throughout the morning.