58 people missing, presumed dead in London high-rise fire

17 Jun

LONDON — U.K. police say 58 people who were in Grenfell Tower when a deadly fire broke out are still missing and presumed dead.

Police Commander Stuart Cundy said Saturday that this number, which was based on reports from the public, may rise. He says it will take weeks or longer to recover and identify all the dead in the public housing block that was devastated by a fire early Wednesday.

The new figure includes the 30 people previously presumed dead, police said.

Grenfell Tower, the 24-story building that was engulfed in flames, had been the subject of resident complaints over fire safety for years. The residence is believed to have had as many as 600 people inside it when the fire broke out on one of the lower floors.

Cundy said there may have been people in the tower that police are not aware of, which would add to the death toll.

He says the search for remains had been paused because of safety concerns but has resumed. Emergency workers have reached the top of the 24-story tower.

Cundy promised an exhausting investigation into the tragedy. He says “my heart goes out to those affected.”

On Friday, two protests broke out in the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea. Nearly 200 people chanting “We want justice!” marched near Notting Hill Gate tube station, demanding action from local councilors tasked with housing people following the disaster. 

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