LONDON -- The Grenfell Tower fire killed a total of 71 people, London’s police said on Thursday after recovering and identifying all those believed to have died in the blaze.
In June, London’s Metropolitan Police estimated that about 80 people had died in the fire, which started on June 14 just before 1 a.m. local time.
Since then police said they have searched every apartment on every floor and every communal area of the 24-story building and examined 15.5 tonnes of debris on each floor. The search operation is not expected to end until early December, but the police said it is very unlikely that anyone remains inside Grenfell Tower -- and all those reported missing have been found.
“I cannot imagine the agony and uncertainty that some families and loved ones have been through whilst we have carried out our meticulous search, recovery and identification process,” Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said in a statement.
Detectives used CCTV footage to identify the residents who escaped the tower. The videos show that 223 people escaped Grenfell Tower that night and survived. Police believe that 293 people were inside at the time of the fire while a number of residents weren't home.
"The human cost and terrible reality of what took place at Grenfell Tower affects so many people,” said Cundy. "Our criminal investigation is continuing, and we are determined to do all we can to find the answers that so many people so desperately want."