79 now feared dead or missing in London blaze, police say

London police said 79 people are now believed to have died in the fire that swept through a high-rise apartment building last week, making it the deadliest blaze in recent British history.

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

Mr Cundy said the death toll may still change, but not as significantly as it has in recent days. The search and recovery operation is likely to take many weeks and some victims may never be identified because of the intensity of the fire, Cundy said. It is feared many are trapped inside the blazing building as the fire broke out in the wee hours of Wednesday.

Separate inquiries have been ordered by the police and government, as the media published images on Monday of the charred remains inside the 24-storey Grenfell Tower.

A Book of Condolence for the victims of last week's fire at Grenfell Tower in London is to be opened at Belfast City Hall.

"This is an incredible distressing time for families and they have my commitment that we will do this as quickly as we possibly can", he said. Composing himself, he said "It's fair to say it is incredibly emotional working in there".

Britain observed a moment of silence at 11 a.m. Monday in remembrance of the victims.

British officials said Sunday that they now believe the deadly blaze might have been made worse as a result of exterior cladding used in a renovation of the building, which had been banned under United Kingdom building codes.

Downing Street also expect a judge to be appointed to lead the public inquiry into the tragedy "very soon".

Cundy promised an "exhaustive" criminal investigation into the fire that would also look at a major refurbishment of the building completed previous year.

"If I identify... an issue that is a risk to public safety, we will be sharing that immediately with the relevant authorities", he added. She also says she will receive daily reports from the stricken neighborhood and has established a $6.4 million emergency fund to help the tower families.

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