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No exact Grenfell death toll this year: UK police

The exact number of people killed in London’s Grenfell block fire will remain unknown until at least the end of this year, police have confirmed.

The Metropolitan Police made the announcement on Wednesday, as it released the latest findings of an investigation into the June 14 blaze that has taken at least 80 lives so far.

“What I can say is that we believe that around 80 people are either dead or sadly missing and I must presume that they are dead,” Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said Wednesday.

“It would have been impossible for anyone to produce a list before that showed exactly who was in Grenfell Tower that night – that includes those people living there but also those visiting,” she added.

The fire began from a malfunctioning bridge and spread all over the 2-story building through the cladding.

Flowers and messages left by well-wishers in tribute to the victims of the June 14 Grenfell Tower block are pictured near the scene of the fire in North Kensington, west London, June 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The police chief said they have been able to speak to people from 106 of the 129 flats inside the building and confirm who had died there but the casualties from 23 flats remained unknown.

“At this stage, we must presume that no-one in those 23 flats survived, that includes anyone who lived there or was visiting them,” she added.

McCormack said they were preparing to let some families known that the remains of their loved ones were never going to be recovered.

In her report, the officer noted that some of the building’s residents might have moved to upper floors in order to escape the flames, which means they could have gathered at one flat and lost their lives there.

The 23 flats in question were believed to be located between 11th and 23rd floors, the police report noted, adding that residents leaving in those floors had made 26 emergency calls.

Police said there were “utter devastation inside the flats” and there were still some apartments that were deemed too unsafe for further investigation.

The probe also found that at least 60 “companies and organizations” were involved in the building’s refurbishment, the construction that is widely blamed for the quick spread of the fire.

Earlier on Wednesday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn blasted Prime Minister Theresa May over her failure to re-house the Grenfell survivors two weeks after the tragedy.

She had pledged to re-house everybody in the same area in three weeks.

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