The number of people dead or missing presumed dead as a result of the fire that tore through the 24-storey Grenfell Tower apartment block has increased to 79, according to UK police.

Of those 79 victims, only five so far have been officially identified, with Commander Stuart Cundy telling reporters that the "awful reality" is that they may not be able to identify everyone:

"Due to the intensity of the fire and the devastation within Grenfell Tower, we may not be able to identify everybody that died.

"We have been from the top to bottom of Grenfell Tower, the search operation will be painstaking."

Cundy also said that the Metropolitan Police were "supporting the families and the loved ones of each of those 79.

There have been suggestions that both the fire and the death toll were exacerbated by concerns about fire safety that were unaddressed by landlords and that the cladding that may have helped the fire spread so quickly is actually illegal.

police inquiry is being launched to determine if any criminal offences were committed that contributed to the fire.

Source: BBCBusiness Insider.
Photo: Getty Images / Stringer.