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79 missing or presumed dead in the Grenfell Tower fire

79 missing or presumed dead in the Grenfell Tower fire

High-rise tower blocks dating from the 1960s and 1970s could be torn down in the wake of the deadly Grenfell Tower fire, London mayor Sadiq Khan said.

British officials said Sunday that exterior cladding used in a recent renovation of the building may have been banned under United Kingdom building regulations.

Engineering experts and fire safety specialists believe the building's exterior cladding may have quickly fueled the blaze, overwhelming fire protection devices.

Investigators are "working tirelessly.to establish just how many we believe are missing", Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy told reporters.

Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan Police said that 16 bodies had been recovered from the 24-storey building in west London, but stressed that although investigators had reached the top of the tower the hard search could take weeks or longer because of the level of damage to the structure.

Previously, the Metropolitan Police had confirmed 30 people had been killed in the inferno; the announcement Saturday almost doubles that number.

He promised an "exhaustive" criminal investigation that would also look at a major refurbishment of the tower completed a year ago.

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Mr Cundy said the search-and-recovery operation was ongoing in the burnt-out, 24-storey tower. British health authorities say that 19 fire survivors are still being treated at London hospitals, and 10 of them remain in critical condition.

Two British ministers say the cladding used in a renovation of Grenfell Tower may have been banned under United Kingdom building regulations.

The commander warned again the numbers may change "for a number of reasons" adding that it's possible that families of some of the victims may not have known they had loved ones in the building at the time of the blaze.

He told BBC Radio 4's The World at One: "I feel like everybody else traumatised by the enormity of the tragedy that overtook North Kensington in the early hours of Wednesday morning".

Eleanor Kelly, chief executive of Southwark Council, on behalf of the newly established Grenfell Fire Response Team, said: "We want to make clear that whilst the emergency and local community response was nothing short of heroic, we know that the initial response was simply not good enough on the ground".

She says she will receive daily reports from the stricken neighborhood, where hundreds of people have been displaced.

He said all records, including emails, minutes of meetings, correspondence with contractors, safety assessments, specifications and reports - must be kept intact.


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