Police: Dead, missing toll in London fire rises to 79

Firefighters work at the scene after a deadly blaze at a high rise apartment block in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Fire swept through a high-rise apartment building in west London early Wednesday, killing an unknown number of people with around 50 people being taken to hospital. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON (AP) — London police say that the number of dead or missing in the high-rise apartment building fire is now 79.

Police Commander Stuart Cundy gave the new figure during a statement outside Scotland Yard on Monday. The previous figure given was 58.

Cundy says the new number may change as the investigation continues. He said that the search and recovery operation in the 24-story Grenfell Tower continues, and it has been incredibly distressing for families.

He said that “it’s hard to describe the devastation the fire has caused.” Cundy added that authorities are investigating whether any crimes had been committed in the fire.

Two British officials said Sunday that new exterior cladding used in a renovation of Grenfell Tower may have been banned under U.K. building regulations.

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