58 presumed dead in London tower fire

Grenfell Tower was recently the subject of comprehensive renovation works, which were completed a year ago. And Britain's Guardian newspaper reported that cladding used on the high-rise structure was made of the cheaper, more flammable material of two types offered by the manufacturer.

The death toll from a fire that ravaged a London tower block last week has risen to 79, police said on Monday, as the government tried to show it was improving its handling of a tragedy that has angered the public. The speed with which the fire spread shocked experts and its heavy black smoke forced many in the tower's 120 apartments to stay inside and wait for help. British media have reported that contractors installed a cheaper, less flame-resistant type of exterior paneling on the 24-story tower in a renovation that was completed just a year ago.

Cundy said the "complex" and "exhaustive" inquiry will focus on a range of issues including how the building was constructed, a recent refurbishment of it, how it is managed and maintained and fire safety measures.

Confirming the latest death toll, Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said the tower remained "in a very hazardous state" but there was "nothing to suggest at this time that the fire was started deliberately". The figure of 58 are those that are missing and I have to assume are dead.

"We are here today because you must look at that building with tears streaming down your face", one woman told the group as they neared the foot of the tower.

Prince William hugged a victim of Wednesday's deadly west London fire (which now has a death toll of 58 people) when he made a visit to a crisis center on Friday.

She also said the government had now contacted all local authorities in England asking them to identify any safety concerns in light of the tragedy.

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Cundy said the search and recovery operation was ongoing in the burnt-out 24-story tower. "Sadly we do not expect there to be any survivors".

May has announced a fast-tracked public inquiry into the fire and said on Sunday that every household affected by the blaze would receive a minimum payment of £5,500 ($7,000) from a £5m emergency fund.

Forensic experts said the fire at Grenfell was so hot that could be compared to a cremation - a development that's going to make it hard to identify all the victims.

"I have friends in the tower and they are not telling us anything", said Salwa Buamani, 25, who took part in the peaceful protest outside with her three-year-old niece.

He said he was not interested in knowing why they had left it so long to make themselves known, but stressed that it was vital for police to know they are safe and well. This relies on dental records, fingerprints and DNA when possible and also features like tattoos or scars. May has come under personal attack for failing to meet residents during her first visit to the site.

But when she was asked in an interview on Newsnight on Friday night about whether she had misread the public mood, she sidestepped the question. Hundreds have been left homeless, putting more pressure on officials in a city plagued by a chronic housing shortage.

Angry protesters chanting "We want justice" stormed their way into the Kensington and Chelsea town hall on Friday.

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