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London Fire: Likely Grenfell Tower Death Toll Rises to 79

LONDON — The horrific fallout from London's Grenfell Tower fire continued Monday as authorities announced the number of people likely killed in the blaze has risen to 79.

Five days after the fire that sparked criticism for the government and other authorities, police are still trying to confirm the total loss of life — as well as the cause.

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

He said there are 79 people "either dead or missing, and I sadly have to presume [they] are dead."

The news comes a day after officials released images showing the devastation inside one of the apartments.

Image: The inside of Grenfell Tower
One of the burned-out apartments inside London's Grenfell Tower. Metropolitan Police / AFP - Getty Images

"The awful reality is that, due to the intensity of the fire and the devastation within Grenfell Tower, we may not be able to identify everyone who died," he added. "It's really hard to describe the devastation the fire has caused."

As well as trying to figure out how many people died, police are also working to determine the cause. Cundy said he would be "looking at all criminal offenses that might have been committed by any individual or any organization."

The tower recently underwent an $11 million upgrade and some experts have suggested that the exterior cladding used in the refurbishment may have contributed to the fire spreading.

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Residents had given warnings about what they felt was inadequate fire safety measures in the building.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose government was severely weakened in a general election earlier this month, has been heavily criticized for failing to meet any victims during a visit to the site.