Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy has released a new statement about the tragic Grenfell Tower fire, confirming that 79 people are dead or presumed dead. Speaking to reporters, he said: "Over the last 48 our investigators have been working tirelessly, working with families to establish just how many we believe are missing from Grenfell Tower. As of this morning, I'm afraid to say there are now 79 people that we believe are either dead or missing, but I have to say we have to presume they're dead."
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Grenfell Tower fire took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning
The Commander also suggested that the number may change in the future, and that they had formally identified just five people out of the 79. "We are supporting the families and loved ones of each of those 79 and with the agreement of the families and the coroner, once we confirm the identities of those who have died, we will be releasing their name," he said. "Now sadly, for many families, they have lost more than one family member and my heart truly goes out to them. This is an incredibly distressing time for all of them. As I said before one of my absolute priorities is to identify people as soon as we can."
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He also encouraged anyone who might have escaped the flat to get in touch with police to confirm their whereabouts. The fire took place in the early hours of Wednesday night, and London Fire Service Commissioner Dany Cotton has since said it was one of the worst incidents she had seen in her 29-year career. "I did a dynamic risk assessment and we knew we were going to be doing things that were not following our normal procedures," she told the Telegraph. "Had we just followed standard fire brigade procedures, we would not have been able to commit firefighters in and conduct the rescues we did. That's very difficult for me. I'm in charge of London fire brigade, and I was committing firefighters into something that was very unknown and very dangerous."