Kuala Lumpur school fire kills at least 25

Sep 16, 2017, 00:37
Kuala Lumpur school fire kills at least 25

An official of the fire department told the AFP that 23 students and two wardens had lost their lives.

He added that if the fire was caused by "mischief" then it would be considered a crime, which falls under the police's jurisdiction.

He said they found 13 bodies huddled in a pile on the right corner of the dorm, another eight on the left corner of the dorm and one in the middle, near the staircase.

Singh said firefighters managed to rescue 14 other students and four teachers, and that six of the people saved had been hospitalized in critical condition. Officials initially said they suspected the fire was caused by an electrical short-circuit but later said this wasn't the case.

He said the police would also record the statements from the premises owner, as well as other surviving teachers and students soon.

"The school did not acquire a permit to begin its operations but was in the midst of applying for one", fire department's director general said.

The blaze broke out before dawn in the Tahfiz - an Islamic religious school - in the heart of the capital Kuala Lumpur.

More than 60 percent of multicultural Malaysia's population of about 30 million are Muslim Malay, and the country is also home to substantial religious and ethnic minorities. "I think this is one of the worst tragedy in the country over the past 20 years".

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mohammad Najib Tun Razak expressed sorrow and sympathies to the victims of the incident. His tweet read: "Innalillah".

The fire at the Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah broke out in the early hours, BBC reported. "May Allah bless their souls", he wrote.

"This is just a normal procedure in every case and police will investigate it as soon as possible", he said.

Horrific accounts emerged of students screaming in desperation because they were unable to escape the inferno as the dormitory's only door was on fire and metal security grilles barred the windows.

Hundreds of people, including families of some victims were gathered outside the school, as more bodies were being removed by fire officials.

The incident has renewed calls for greater scrutiny and regulation of "tahfiz" schools.

These schools are unregulated by the education ministry and fall under the purview of the religious department.

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