London fire: 79 people now dead or missing after Grenfell Tower high-rise fire

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LONDON – British authorities said Monday that 79 people were now confirmed dead or missing after the London high-rise fire that has infuriated the British public and placed pressure on the government of Prime Minister Theresa May.

Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy revealed the new number, up from 58, in a statement to reporters. He said the figures may still change. Authorities are trying to determine if any criminal offenses were made by the building’s managers, but accounts from residents indicate that it was for years a fire trap.

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

One of them, Chancellor Phillip Hammond, told the BBC: “My understanding is the cladding in question, this flammable cladding which is banned in Europe and the U.S., is also banned here. So there are two separate questions. One, are our regulations correct, do they permit the right kind of materials and ban the wrong kind of materials? The second question is were they correctly complied with? That will be a subject that the inquiry will look at. It will also be a subject that the criminal investigation will be looking at.”

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