Malaysia: School Fire Leaves At Least 25 Dead

Malaysia: School Fire Leaves At Least 25 Dead

Malaysia: School Fire Leaves At Least 25 Dead

"The fire spread too fast and since the entrance and exit were at the same place, the boys were trapped inside", Ms Nurhayati said.

Firefighters rushed to the scene and the blaze was out within an hour but it wreaked bad devastation.

A total of 36 students, aged between 13 and 17, and six teachers were living at the tahfiz (Quranic memorisation) school. Firefighters remained powerless and failed to help, while the students' screams were heard in the background: "I saw their small hands through the windows", a witness said. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin Firefighters carry a body out of religious school Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah after a fire broke out in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia September 14, 2017.

Some of the children did manage to escape by breaking through a grille and jumping out or sliding down drain pipes. Reports say of the 25 dead, 23 were students while the other two were teachers.

"All 31 religious and tahfiz schools management in the state will be called soon, for us to clarify further on the fire safety plans", he said.

Pictures and recordings circling on the web demonstrated the whole second story room of the school burning. Police later updated the death toll to 22 students and two teachers.

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He said this was because a DNA matching test from the blood samples of parents and next-of-kin was required before the identities could be confirmed.

Police personnel from the Bukit Aman Forensics Unit conducting their investigations at the school.

"(Islamic schools) must comply with the rules or else they can not operate, especially when they house such young children", Hatta Ramli, an opposition lawmaker from Islamic party Amanah, told AFP.

The accident will add to mounting concerns about the religious study centres.

JBPM director-general Datuk Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim said they were now investigating from the point of negligence and technicality and the investigation was expected to take two to three weeks.

Deputy Prime Minister Zahid said fire department records showed there had been 31 blazes at tahfiz since 2011.

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