London fire: 79 people feared dead, five victims have been identified

The number of people believed to have died from a fire that set ablaze Grenfell Tower in west London last week has risen to 79 and could increase, United Kingdom police say.

Cundy said 79 people were missing, presumed dead, but it was very likely that due to the intensity of the conflagration many victims would never be formally identified. Cundy added that authorities are investigating whether any crimes had been committed in the fire.

"There is also a real possibility that there may be people in the building that no-one knows are missing", he said.

Of that 79, police have identified five people.

The police chief, who went inside the charred shell of the high-rise tower over the weekend, told reporters: "I've investigated major crime for most of my service and I've seen some bad things but I don't think anything prepared me for what I was going to see when I was in there".

In this photo released by the Metropolitan Police on Sunday, June 18, 2017, burnt out lifts on an undisclosed floor, in the Grenfell Tower after fire engulfed the 24-storey building, in London.

Mr Cundy said the death toll - which increased from 58 - could still change as investigations continue, but not as significantly as it has previously.

One of the burned-out apartments inside London's Grenfell Tower.

The UK government has ordered local councils and building associations to catalog tall buildings fitted with similar green energy upgrades believed to have fueled the deadly Grenfell Tower fire.

Fire swept through the 24-storey block in North Kensington, west London on 13 June.

Over the past few days, another five people who had been reported missing in the fire have been found to be safe and well, Cundy said, saying he's "so grateful" for the news. May has promised to devote more resources to helping members of the community cope and has ordered a full public inquiry into the causes of the blaze.

Speculation has focused on the role that cladding apparently used in a recent refurbishment of the tower may have played in the fire.

United Kingdom officials also asked for test samples from buildings with aluminium composite material cladding to see if they're fire resistant.

Many questions also center on the speed at which the fire spread.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced an emergency fund for those affected by the fire.

It's too early to know, but police say there will be criminal prosecutions if the evidence of wrongdoing is strong.

  • Leroy Wright