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European researchers say that the Grenfell Tower disaster is now the deadliest fire in mainland Britain since they started keeping close records at the start of the 20th century

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A firefighter puts his hand to his face looks as he at the floral tributes before a minute's silence near to Grenfell Tower in west London Monday June 19, 2017. Tens of people died when a fire engulfed an high-rise apartment block in west London last week. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

Monday, June 19th 2017, 8:05 am EDT

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the London high-rise fire (all times local):

1 p.m.

European researchers say that the Grenfell Tower disaster is now the deadliest fire in mainland Britain since they started keeping close records at the start of the 20th century.

London police say that 79 people are now believed to have died in last week's high-rise apartment building fire.

The Emergency Events Database at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium compiles natural and man-made disasters around the world. The database tracks fires from 1900 to the present.

It says that the Grenfell fire ranks above the fire at Bradford City Stadium in northern England on May 11, 1985, when flames swept through the wooden stands and killed 56 people.

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11 a.m.

Britain has held a moment of silence for the 79 people who are believed to have died in the high-rise fire in West London.

Emergency service workers bowed their heads in respect to the victims of the catastrophic blaze.

The fire ripped through the 24-story tower early Wednesday. Two British officials have said that new exterior cladding used in a renovation of Grenfell Tower may have been banned under U.K. building regulations. The paneling has been blamed for quickly spreading the flames.

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10:45 a.m.

London police say that the number of dead or missing in the high-rise apartment building fire is now 79.

Police Commander Stuart Cundy gave the new figure during a statement outside Scotland Yard on Monday. The previous figure given was 58.

Cundy says the new number may change as investigation continues. He said that the search and recovery operation in the 24-story Grenfell Tower continues, and it has been incredibly distressing for families.

He said that "it's hard to describe the devastation the fire has caused." Cundy added that authorities are investigating whether any crimes had been committed in the fire.

Two British officials said Sunday that new exterior cladding used in a renovation of Grenfell Tower may have been banned under U.K. building regulations.

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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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