London fire: 79 presumed dead, death toll may rise

Updated: 19 Jun 2017 11:35 PM

New York [United States] June 19 (ANI): As many as 79 people are missing and presumed dead after a massive fire engulfed a 24-story Grenfell Tower in London earlier this week.

"Only five victims have been identified so far and the death toll may rise. Sadly for many families who have lost more than one family member in this incident. Search and recovery operation is proceeding as quickly as possible but may take many more weeks," Metropolitan Police Service Commander Stuart Cundy.

"I would like to reassure everybody that we will be looking at all criminal offences that might have been committed by any individual or any organisation. Where offences have been committed, I will do everything in my gift to make sure they are brought to justice," Cundy added.

However, five people who were originally reported as missing have since been found safe and well where as 17 people are still being treated in London hospitals, of whom nine remained in critical care, reports CNN.

Officials and UK Chancellor Philip Hammond have indicated that the external rain-screen cladding believed to be the cause of the rapid spread of the fire at the Grenfell Tower may have been banned under building regulations in the UK.

Fire had ripped through the 24-storey residential block in north Kensington in the early hours of June 13, trapping hundreds of people inside.

Rescue efforts have been ongoing with civil servants drafted in over the weekend to aid with the humongous task following complaints from locals at the local council's response.

British Prime Minister Theresa May had come in for a barrage of criticism over her own response to the disaster. She has since announced additional support and a five million-pound relief fund for the rehabilitation of the victims. (ANI)

This story has not been edited. It has been published as provided by ANI