STAGGERING

79 People Now Presumed Dead in London Tower Blaze

Authorities announced Monday that 79 people are now dead or presumed dead after the blaze at the 24-story Grenfell Tower in west London last week. According to Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy, that horrific figure may still increase. Cundy said many of the affected families lost more than one relative, saying his “heart went out to them.” Police said the priority now is to identify people who died in the building and to remove their bodies as quickly as possible, but he issued a warning to the public that not everyone’s remains will be easily identifiable. “This is incredibly distressing time for families,” Cundy said. “It is really hard to describe the devastation the fire caused.” The operation just to identify those who died, he said, will take “many, many weeks.” He added, “What is important for me is to find answers for those families who have been directly affected.”