25 killed in Malaysia school fire

Amar-Singh

Seven people were taken to a nearby hospital to treat their injuries and another 11 were rescued.

Firefighters rushed to the scene and the blaze was out within an hour but not before it wreaked awful devastation.

Mohamad Fuzi said this in response to the development of the investigation into the fire at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah school yesterday.

View of the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah School building after the horrific fire.

"I saw their little hands out of the grilled windows, crying for help", area resident Nurhayati Abdul Halim told local media as reported by The New York Times.

Officials said that the children were unable to escape the fire because the blaze blocked the only door to the top-floor dormitory and the windows were closed off with metal security grilles.

"This is just a normal procedure in every case and police will investigate it as soon as possible", he said. He said they were due to move back at the end of this month.

"We have not ruled out foul play", Khirudin said, adding that fires in dormitories were typically caused by unattended cooking or mosquito coils.

Officials say that bodies were stacked on top of each other, one after the other.

A total of 36 students, aged between 13 and 17, and six teachers were living at the tahfiz (Quranic memorisation) school. The worst fire disaster occurred in 1989 when 27 female students at an Islamic school in Kedah state died when fire gutted the school and eight wooden hostels.

More than 24 understudies and educators have died in a fire at a religious school in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur.

An electrical short circuit is believed to have caused the blaze at the Islamic school, which didn't have a fire permit and was not licensed by local or religious authorities.

Malaysian specialists have raised worries about security measures at unregulated private religious schools.

About 60 per cent of Malaysia's population of over 30 million are Muslim Malays, and the country is also home to substantial ethnic and religious minorities.

Mohd Arif Awardi, a staff member of the tahfiz school, who managed to escape from the fire, told Xinhua at the scene that he has not received any fire safety training after he began to work at the school several months ago.

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