London Fire Brigade are working tirelessly in horrific circumstance following the Grenfell Tower fire.
Firefighters have been on the scene on Latimer Road, north Kensington, since around 1am on Wednesday morning.
The operation has seen firefighters helped by police, Urban Search and Rescue modules, Metropolitan Police Disaster Victim Identification team and even fire dogs.
Specially-trained dogs are assisting in the slow and painstaking search process because they are lighter than humans and can cover areas more challenging to access – such as the horrendously damaged upper floors of the 24-storey tower block.
Just like their human counterparts, canine crew from London Fire Brigade and the MET’s urban search and rescue team are given specialist equipment, including little boots to protect their feet from heat, glass and other sharp objects.
Although the task looks incredibly dangerous, there has been no report of injury to any fire dog while working in the UK, according to the London Fire Brigade.
Fire investigation dogs are used in a variety of scenarios are trained to identify a variety of ignitable substances.
Their sense of smell is often more accurate than specifically designed technology and they can even help to determine whether a fire has been started deliberately.
Sadly, London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said crews are not expecting to find any survivors, though the search is continuing to identify those who remain unaccounted for.
While the official death toll stands at 30, there are fears the fire claimed more than 100 lives, but the scale of the damage means authorities are finding it extremely difficult to find and identify remains.
The use of fire investigation dogs will help to speed up the process and allow crew to explore damaged corners of the building that a human would simply be unable to reach.
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: ‘This is a large building, there will be a large amount of building work required internally.
‘Before we do that, we are going to utilise some specialist dog training teams that we have, that will go through the building and the surrounding area looking for any identification of people.’
She said ‘a good half’ of the building had yet to be searched in detail, adding: ‘It is the upper floors which will be more challenging and will need some additional shoring up for us to be able to get in there.’
Ms Cotton added: ‘This will be a detailed fingertip search. Obviously this will be a very slow and painstaking process.’
Fire dogs are selected at an early age and are trained using positive reinforcement techniques.
They live with their respective handlers and are provided with specially adapted transportation and kennels while on duty.
Residents living near Grenfell Tower said they remain ‘devastated’ as they questioned how the tragedy could happen in London’s richest borough.
Nearby streets in west London remain covered in posters of missing people.
Flowers and candles have been left outside the Pig and Whistle pub, along with a sign explaining where to donate items.
Candles, flowers and messages remain outside a nearby hall, along with signs demanding ‘justice for Grenfell’.
Parts of the area remain cordoned off, with police guarding the scene.
As firefighters keep searching the charred ruins of the Grenfell Tower public housing complex with sniffer dogs and drones, Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said there was ‘a risk that, sadly, we may not be able to identify everybody.’
Experts said the intensity of Wednesday’s fire at the 24-storey building will make naming victims extremely difficult, drawing comparisons to the 2001 World Trade Center terror attacks in New York, where 40% of the victims were never identified.