Grenfell Tower blaze death toll rises to 79

On the lack of sprinklers in Grenfell Tower, and other buildings, he said: “My understanding is that the best expert advice is that retrofitting sprinklers may not always be the best technical way of ensuring fire safety in a building”. “Nowadays, we would not dream of building towers to the standards of the 1970s, but their inhabitants still have to live with that legacy”.

Later on Sunday, former United Kingdom chancellor Philip Hammond said the cladding material used on the building was banned on British high-rises.

So far, 58 people have been feared dead – a toll that authorities warn could rise ahead of new figures to be released on Monday. Some said they had never seen a building fire advance so quickly.

It said: “We are devastated by this tragedy”.

Flowers and missing people posters are taped to the gates of the church, which has been used as a relief centre in the wake of the blaze, while bags of donations including nappies and clothes are piled outside the door. The inquiry will report back to the Prime Minister.

Cundy said five people who had been reported as missing had now been found and were safe and well. He asked anyone who was in the tower and survived to contact police immediately.

May’s critics were quick to compare her somewhat reserved public approach to footage of opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn embracing distraught victims and London Mayor Sadiq Khan being interrupted repeatedly by locals as he made a speech at the scene.

The interior of the 24-storey tower block was gutted beyond recognition, with police commander Stuart Cundy referring to the conditions as “indescribable”.

“Both myself and colleagues from London Fire Brigade have already said it will take weeks”.

He said it was “humbling” to attend before meeting with many members of the congregation as well as other people who turned up to speak to him. This year, however, it is hard to escape a very sombre national mood.

British officials say they are helping the Syrian family of the first officially confirmed victim of the London tower blaze – 23-year-old Mohammad Alhajali – to “travel to the these terribly sad circumstances”.

Community groups have said that warnings about poor fire safety have always been ignored, and that in the aftermath of the disaster, officials failed to immediately take care of those affected.

Residents will be given £500 in cash followed by a bank payment for the rest from Monday and will come from the £5 million fund announced by Theresa May on Friday.