Service dogs have joined the grim search for bodies in Grenfell Tower as police confirmed at least 58 people are missing presumed dead.
Speaking to media outside the west London building today, Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said: ‘The fire was truly horrific. For me this is just a human tragedy.’
He said that the force has confirmed 30 people are dead and has established that another 28 are missing. He added that he has to ‘assume’ these people had died.
The commander stressed that this information was based only on the number of people they believe were in the tower when it caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning and the actual loss may be greater.
Officers were forced to pause the ‘phased’ search amid safety fears, but the operation has now been resumed and police say the priority is to ‘bring out those who are still in there’.
As the searches of the public housing complex continue with sniffer dogs and drones, Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said there was ‘a risk that, sadly, we may not be able to identify everybody’. Officers are pictured in the building this morning
Speaking to media outside the west London building today, Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy (pictured) said: ‘The fire was truly horrific. For me this is just a human tragedy
More than 70 people are still missing after the Grenfell inferno. Firefighters are now sending in dogs (pictured yesterday) to find the missing
Commander Cundy said police had received more than 6,000 calls and that the search is set to take weeks or ‘longer’.
‘It’s important for families that we do absolutely everything in there to find their loved ones. We have gone to the top of the tower,’ he added.
London Fire Brigade’s canine units were sent into the building yesterday along with the MET’s urban search and rescue dogs.
Detectives and fire fighters have now surveyed every floor of the tower to assess its structural integrity.
The blaze, thought to have been started by a faulty fridge, quickly engulfed the building where some 600 people lived.
A firefighter looks through the remains of the floors in the middle of the building, where fire officers are being sent, as dogs are used as a lighter alternative through some parts
As the work on the charred remains continues, in Downing St, some of the victims were meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May
Firefighters have said they believe no one on the top floors of the building survived.
Kitted out in hi-vis harnesses, sniffer dogs will painstakingly cover upper floors of the building.
For added protection the dogs wear buster boots, which protect their paws from broken glass and chippings that litter the floor of the gutted building.
A member of emergency services wears protective clothing and a mask as they comb through the remains of the building
As the death toll has risen through the week, scores remain missing, with many of those believed to have not been able to escape the building
The dogs (pictured today) are much lighter than humans and can cover a large area quickly
The fate of the 600 residents of Grenfell Tower was sealed shortly before 12.50am, when a fridge on the fourth floor apparently exploded into flames
Trainers insist that the dogs’ keen sense of smell is more accurate than technology.
They are also much lighter than humans and can cover a large area quickly, reducing the amount of time other emergency services need to spend in the building.
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: ‘This is a large building, there will be a large amount of building work required internally.
‘Before we do that, we are going to utilise some specialist dog training teams that we have, that will go through the building and the surrounding area looking for any identification of people.’
The canines can smell through solid materials, like concrete, and their sense is estimated to be 10 times stronger than a human.
Dogs will be helping the urban search and rescue teams look through the building today, wearing specialist equipment to protect their paws
A firefighters is pictured in the charred remains of the building on Saturday
The search effort is likely to take several days with the figure of the number lost in the tragic events set to rise as the days go on
Thirty people have died and more are feared dead after a huge fire destroyed the tower block in north Kensington
A rescue dog is pictured at Grenfell Tower the day after fire engulfed the 24-storey building
Two tube stations close to the tower were closed today amid fears about the structural integrity of the building, which could collapse
Spaniels have particularly sensitive noses and are often used by the fire brigade and police in body searches.
As the searches of the public housing complex continue with sniffer dogs and drones, Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said there was ‘a risk that, sadly, we may not be able to identify everybody.’
The fate of the 600 residents of Grenfell Tower was sealed shortly before 12.50am, when a fridge on the fourth floor apparently exploded into flames.
At 12.54am, the fire brigade was called, and the first engines arrived within six minutes. But witnesses said that the speed at which the fire tore up the tower was incredible – like ‘a tissue being set alight’.
The canines can smell through solid materials, like concrete, and their sense is estimated to be 10 times stronger than a human
Chaos and confusion swept through the tower block as its residents were woken up by sirens, screams and the smell of acrid smoke.
Many were told to stay in their flats and await rescue but within minutes, it became clear that that advice was beginning to cost lives.
Witnesses watched helplessly as people trapped in smoke-filled flats took it in turns to suck breaths of air through windows designed to open only fractionally.
Trapped residents flashed torches, their mobile phones and even fairy lights from their windows in a desperate attempt to attract the attention of rescuers.
One witness said: ‘People were taking in turns to get air from the window, and flashing their phones, and then the fire just took them. You could hear people yelling from the top, ‘Help, get my children out!’ and you are just standing there, and watching people die, burning…’
For added protection the dogs wear buster boots (pictured at West Hull station last year), which protect their paws from broken glass and chippings that litter the floor of the gutted building
Cheap plastic cladding on Grenfell Tower is believed to have carried the flames so quickly. Chaos and confusion swept through the tower block as its residents were woken up by sirens, screams and the smell of acrid smoke
Cheap plastic cladding on Grenfell Tower is believed to have carried the flames so quickly.
Planning documents suggest fire-resistant cladding was initially chosen, but later ditched to save just £6,250.
Yesterday, MailOnline revealed that the bosses of the company that installed Grenfell Tower’s allegedly deadly cladding were accused by HMRC of pumping £2.5million into tax avoidance schemes.
How MailOnline readers can donate to a charity helping the Grenfell Tower fire victims
The Grenfell Tower fire has prompted an extraordinary outpouring of support from Britons as they try to help the victims both financially and with gifts of food, clothing and other essentials.
And MailOnline readers can donate to a charity co-ordinating efforts to help those whose lives were devastated by clicking here.
The money will go to the Kensington & Chelsea Foundation, the company’s local charity partner.
The foundation is coordinating a major funding appeal with support from London Funders and the London Emergency Trust Fund, and has set up a donation page on its website.
Every penny raised on the site will go directly to charities funding the relief effort in the local community, both for those who lost loved-ones and those who lost their homes and all their possessions.
Readers can also donate via cheque. Please make cheques payable to ‘The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation’ and send to: Grenfell Tower Appeal, The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation, 111–117 Lancaster Road, London W11 1QT.
The gutted block is just over a mile from the MailOnline and Daily Mail offices in Kensington, West London, known as Northcliffe House.
Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) chairman Lord Rothermere and chief executive Paul Zwillenberg last night announced a £100,000 donation to the charity.