At least 58 people are now presumed dead following the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower, police said as the search to recover bodies continues.

| June 17, 2017

At least 58 people are now presumed dead following the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower, police said as the search to recover bodies continues.IMG_5132
In the latest update on Saturday, Commander Stuart Cundy said officers have now established there were 58 people known to have been in the tower at the time of the disaster and who are still missing.
Police have so far recovered 16 bodies and the first victim has been formally identified as 23-year-old Mohammed Alhajali.
All 24 floors of the high rise building has now been searched. The recovery operation was paused on Friday over fears for the safety of emergency workers in the building but is now set to resume.
Mr Cundy said: “Sadly, at this time there are 58 people who we have been told were in the Grenfell Tower on the night that are missing, and therefore sadly, I have to assume that they are dead.
“That number 58 may change. I really hope it won’t, but it may increase.
“Our focus has been on those that we know were in Grenfell Tower. However, there may be other people who were in there on the night that others were not aware were there.
“That is also an absolute priority for the investigation – to establish who they may be,” he added.
Of the 58, he said 30 were confirmed dead.
Mr Cundy appealed to anyone who may have escaped from the building, but has not yet come forward, to make themselves known.
More than 6,000 calls were made to the police casualty bureau as well as to forces across the country in the wake of the disaster.
Speaking about the criminal probe which has been launched, Mr Cundy pledged anyone who has committed an offence would be brought to justice.
He said the police investigation into the blaze would look at the building and its refurbishment in 2016 and vowed to prosecute people “if there is evidence”.
He said: “The investigation is a police investigation. We investigate criminal matters. The investigation will identify any criminal offence that has been committed. It will be wide ranging.
“It will go to establish the answers of what happened in the fire and how it spread, it will look at the building itself, it will look at the refurbishment as well.
“Our criminal investigation will identify any criminal offences that have been committed. Wherever we can, we will bring people to justice if there is evidence. It is completely and wholly inappropriate for me to talk about details of the investigation which may subsequently jeopardise any criminal proceedings.”
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The fire ripped through the tower block, on the Lancaster West Estate in north Kensington, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Witnesses reported seeing people screaming and jumping from the building in the terror.
Fury over the Grenfell Tower blaze came to a head on Friday with two separate protests erupting across the capital.
A crowd of furious protesters stormed Kensington town hall demanding answers from the local authority before marching to the base of the tower.
In a separate rally at Whitehall, more than a thousand people marched to Downing Street in anger at the Government’s response to the disaster.
Theresa May met with survivors of the tragedy in hospital and on Saturday welcomed residents to Downing Street.
Family liaison officers are working with 52 families, and as soon as victims are identified, their loved ones will be told, Mr Cundy added in the update on Saturday.
The police commander said at the scene: “At this point in time we have 16 people who have been recovered to the mortuary.
“I absolutely understand the frustration of why figures haven’t been released earlier. The reason for that – at one point, in terms of our casualty bureau, there were 400 people who were reported missing from Grenfell Tower.
“Grenfell Tower itself is 120 flats. We have worked tirelessly over the last four days to truly understand those that we know were there on the night.”
He added: “I understand – I really do understand – the frustration of so many about not knowing the scale of the tragedy that is unfolding behind us.
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“I have said it before, you have my absolute assurance that as soon as I can possibly tell you something that I know to be accurate, I will tell you.”
Mr Cundy said: “The investigation will be exhaustive. My intention is that it will help provide answers.
“If, as we investigate, we identify issues that are a risk to public safety, we will not be waiting until the end of the investigation before we provide that information to the appropriate authorities.
“If there are any safety issues that we and experts that we will be using identify, we will share that immediately.”
Source Evening Standard

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