Authorities in London said Saturday that 58 people missing are presumed dead from this week's fire disaster at a high-rise tower.
Commander Stuart Cundy said that number "may increase" and that the "significant" recovery operation is likely to take weeks.
She promised residents would be rehoused within three weeks, and rejected accusations that the government failed to act on recommendations to tighten fire regulations after a fatal block fire in London in 2009.
Cundy added it was hard to say how many people were missing, but he said police did not expect to find any survivors in the search of the tower.
Engineering experts have speculated that outside insulation panels installed on the 24-story Grenfell Tower may have helped the fire spread rapidly from one floor to the next.
Public anger is mounting as residents and neighbors demand answers for how the blaze early Wednesday spread so quickly and trapped so numerous tower's 600-odd residents.
Cundy added that the death toll could rise.
He says the search for remains had been paused because of safety concerns but has resumed. Cundy said emergency workers have now reached the top of the building.
Police have opened a criminal investigation into the circumstances of the blaze. "My heart goes out to those affected", Cundy said. She said: "I've come out here because people had no hope".
Questions remain over the fire as it emerged there were no sprinklers or communal alarm in Grenfell Tower.
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On Saturday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn kept up pressure on May by writing to her to set out what he believed should be an appropriate scope for the public inquiry into the fire she has promised.
"As soon as we can, we will locate and recover loved ones", he added.
The head of state said a saddened country was showing resolve in the face of adversity and a determination to rebuild lives wrecked by "terrible" tragedy.
The Metropolitan Police's investigation into the fire will look at the refurbishment undertaken at the tower block in 2016. Nineteen people are still in the hospital, 10 of whom are in critical condition.
On Friday, grief over the disaster turned into anger as protesters took to the streets to vent over the fire, the death toll for which continues to escalate, with dozens more deaths feared.
"It is hard to escape a very sombre national mood", she said in a message marking the event.
But when she was asked in an interview on Newsnight on Friday night about whether she had misread the public mood, she sidestepped the question. "We entirely support the calling of the public inquiry and will cooperate in whatever way we can with it so that local people have all the answers about what has happened", the council, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said.
The government has ordered inspections of similar buildings, and May said it was doing "everything in our power" to ensure people living in an estimated 4,000 other tower blocks across Britain were safe.
The Times newspaper reported that the company that manufactured the cladding also made fire-resistant models that cost fractionally more than the standard version.
Protesters gathered around Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall on Friday as anger boiled over in London after claims that earlier renovation work may have been responsible for the dramatic spread of the blaze.
Some Grenfell residents had warned months ago fire safety issues at the tower meant that it was at risk of a "catastrophic" event.