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Dead, missing toll in London fire rises to 79, police say

People look at flowers, tokens and photographs left close to Grenfell Tower in west London, Sunday June 18, 2017, after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Dozens of people died or are missing, presumed dead after the huge fire destroyed the tower block in north Kensington. (John Stillwell/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) -- London police say that the number of dead or missing in the high-rise apartment building fire is now 79.

Police Commander Stuart Cundy gave the new figure during a statement outside Scotland Yard on Monday. The previous figure given was 58.'

Cundy says the new number may change as the investigation continues. He said that the search and recovery operation in the 24-story Grenfell Tower continues, and it has been incredibly distressing for families.

He said that "it's hard to describe the devastation the fire has caused." Cundy added that authorities are investigating whether any crimes had been committed in the fire.

Two British officials said Sunday that new exterior cladding used in a renovation of Grenfell Tower may have been banned under U.K. building regulations.

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