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Grenfell Tower: 79 people now presumed dead in London fire, police confirm

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 6 days ago By Telegraph Reporters
Grenfell Tower: 79 people now presumed dead in London fire, police confirm

The number of people dead and missing presumed dead after the Grenfell Tower disaster has risen to 79, police have revealed.

Five of those people have so far been formally identified, said Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy.

He told reporters the "awful reality" was that it might not be possible to identify all the victims. Some families have lost more than one member, he added.

The announcement came ahead of a minute's silence to be held at 11am across all Government buildings to remember the people who lost their lives and all those affected by the fire in north Kensington last week.

His latest statement comes after police released new images from inside the burnt-out building.

Video shows aftermath of fire inside Grenfell Tower 01:28

Mr Cundy said the death toll may still change, but not as significantly as it has in recent days.

He fought back tears as he told reporters about the scene inside the 24-storey tower in north Kensington.

Footage from inside the gutted building has been released, showing the extent of the damage caused by the blaze.

He said it had been "incredibly emotional working in there", adding: "On Saturday I went in myself and went to the top floor.

"And it is incredibly hard to describe the devastation in some parts of that building."

Five people who had been reported missing after the disaster have been found safe and well, he added.

Video footage inside the flats showed the charred remains of a kitchenCredit: PA / Metropolitan Police  The pictures show the damage inside the buildingCredit: Metropolitan Police 

Releasing a tranche of footage showing the aftermath of the blaze, Mr Cundy said: "Police teams continue their support to families, and make enquiries to cross check the number of those missing."

The news came as the Government announced those left homeless by the fire will be given at least £5,500 from an emergency fund.

Residents will be given £500 in cash followed by a bank payment for the rest from Monday and will come from the £5 million fund announced by Theresa May on Friday.

The pictures were captured by a specialist police recovery teamCredit: Metropolitan Police The pictures show the extent of the fireCredit: Metropolitan Police 

The Prime Minister insisted the Government was doing everything possible to help those caught up in the tragedy.

Residents who met Mrs May in Downing Street over the weekend said while they welcomed the funding they had not been consulted before the announcement was made.

They said: "We naturally welcome funds for those in need, though this does show once more the tendency to sideline residents' views.

"At No 10 yesterday, the Prime Minister assured the group that from now on residents would be consulted on a coordinated relief effort. This has not happened with these funds."

The move came as the official response to the crisis drew fresh condemnation from residents and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Grenfell Tower fire in pictures

In a statement, residents criticised Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation for its reaction to the disaster.

The group said: "In our meeting at Downing Street, we explained to the Prime Minister the anger of all residents towards the management of the estate over a long period of time, paving the way to this tragedy.

"With the exception of very few junior officers, the estate managers have been invisible in the aftermath of the tragedy."

Mr Khan said the local community was "frustrated" and "angry" in the wake of the blaze after he attended a church service near the tower block in west London.

New pictures have been released from the buildingCredit: Metropolitan Police 

His remarks came as Nick Paget-Brown, the Tory leader of Kensington and Chelsea council, insisted officials were on the ground "very soon" after the fire broke out following criticism from Mrs May, who said the support given to residents was "not good enough".

He also sidestepped questions over whether he felt guilty about the tragedy, telling BBC Radio 4's The World At One: "I feel terrible about the whole position we find ourselves in. All I'm keen to say is there is an effective, co-ordinated relief effort on the ground and I'm sorry if people haven't seen that."

Speaking outside St Clement's Church, Mr Khan said: "There is a feeling from the community that they have been treated badly because some of them are poor.

"The tragedy we're seeing is because of the consequences of mistakes and neglect from politicians, from the council and from the Government."

Firefighters met with huge cheers as they leave Grenfell Tower 01:03

Meanwhile, a company involved in the renovation of the tower was forced to deny cladding on the building was banned in the UK after comments made by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

It was reported that the material used in the cladding covering Grenfell was Reynobond PE - a cheaper, more flammable version of two available options.

Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hammond said: "My understanding is the cladding in question, this flammable cladding which is banned in Europe and the US, is also banned here."

John Cowley, managing director of CEP Architectural Facades, which produced rainscreen panels and windows for Grenfell Tower's cladding sub-contractor Harley Facades Ltd, said: "Reynobond PE is not banned in the UK.

"Current building regulations allow its use in both low-rise and high-rise structures.

"The key question now is whether the overall design of the building's complete exterior was properly tested and subsequently signed off by the relevant authorities including the fire officer, building compliance officer and architect before commencement of the project."

Grenfell Tower fire (as of Friday morning)

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