25 students & teachers killed in Malaysian religious school fire

Malaysia

The Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is a private Islamic center, known as a "tahfiz" school, for Muslim children, mainly boys, to study and memorize the Quran.

He said that it's too early to say how the fire started but added "the Fire and Rescue Department and police will investigate it thoroughly. But the forensics team will look at every aspect".

Danial Borhan, 15, said that he, along with 12 other students, had slid down the pipe and saved themselves from the raging fire. He said they were due to move back at the end of this month.

Numerous bodies of the victims - who included 21 boys mostly in their teens - were found piled on top of one another, indicating there may have been a stampede as the students sought to escape the blaze which erupted before dawn. 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. Pictures in local media showed beds blackened by fire and covered in ash.

He added that the tahfiz centre, which was built following contributions from the surau, had been operating for only about a year.

"I could hear screaming, I thought there were people fighting".

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"The youngsters were sobbing for help, yet I couldn't help them as the entryway was at that point ablaze", he said. "Some specialists are taking care of them", he said. Also, the officials suspect that an electric short circuit took place at the boarding school.

He said the operator of the school had only recently submit the application for approval to the fire department, and the fire broke out before authorities could conduct the fire safety inspection. Police later revised down the death toll to 22 students and two teachers. The bodies, many severely burned, were being identified by DNA tests, he said.

Earlier this year an 11-year-old schoolboy died in hospital after reportedly being beaten by a warden at a religious school. Some of them already suffered burns.

According to the official sources, initially around 23 students and two teachers were killed in the blaze.

They are unregulated by the education ministry, being the responsibility of the religious department. Another tahfiz school was destroyed by a fire in May but no one was hurt.

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