The Grenfell Tower fire is the “worst incident” a recovery worker says they have ever dealt with.
Sergeant Alistair Hutchins, a Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Coordinator for the blaze aftermath told how he has never “had an incident on this scale. The pressure it puts on you emotionally is huge”.
Sgt Hutchins continued: “It’s difficult. It’s probably the worst incident that I have ever dealt with and I have been doing DVI for 18 years.
“I have dealt with many incidents and I have never come across one harder both emotionally, physically and challenging.”
Sgt Hutchins spoke as the Metropolitan Police released footage showing DVI officers at work inside the tower.
DVI officers recover human remains and identify the dead in the wake of emergency and major incidents.
They also provide support to friends and family of the deceased during the identification process.
Four weeks on from the tragedy which left at least 80 people dead, there has been anger at the length of time it has taken to formally identify the deceased and for a definite figure to be released.
Currently the Metropolitan Police say they believe “around 80 people” are dead or missing presumed dead, and that due to the severity of the fire the number of fatalities has been difficult to confirm.
Of the 350 people who were living in Grenfell Tower when the tragedy struck, the Met know that 255 escaped.
Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said they also know that 14 people were not in the tower block on the night of the fire on June 14, leaving around 80 people who they believe died in the fire.
In response to the criticism Sgt Hutchins said recovering all the victims would be a “long process” which he expected to take around four months, and that the team of DVI workers were “desperate to do their best for the families” of those affected.
He continued: “I deeply, deeply understand the frustration the families have and the answers they want and it is only natural.
“All I can say is please be patient.
“We are doing our utmost best for you and we are working as hard as we can.
“My teams cannot work any harder.
“It’s extremely difficult for them to understand because it is not their world and I don’t think anything I can say here can clearly convey that to them, but we are trying our very best to get our loved ones back.”