Fire engulfs religious seminary in Malaysia killing 24 people

Trevor Jackson
September 15, 2017

At least 25 people, a lot of them youngsters, died in a fire in a religious Islamic boarding school in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, reports BBC. Some witnesses said they had heard the students crying for help after the fire broke out.

He said 11 of the students would be buried at the Darul Sakinah Cemetery in Gombak, several others in Ampang and Keramat, while the rest might be brought by their families to be buried at their respective hometowns. He added that it was one of the worst fire tragedies the country has seen in over 20 years.

Fire officials said numerous bodies found in the school's dormitory had been burned beyond recognition, but they confirmed that the remains belonged to 22 boys, ages 13 to 17, and two teachers. The bodies of two school teachers were also found next to them.

Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Amar Singh told reporters the boys who died were aged 13-17, and they probably suffocated due to smoke inhalation.

At a press conference, deputy inspector-general of police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said an electrical fault was believed to have caused the fire.

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. "We wanted to help the others but we couldn't because the fire was rampant", he said.

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The blaze started in bedrooms before dawn and firefighters from a nearby station reached within minutes, according to a fire department official.

Video recordings by the public showed the topmost floor of the three-storey building was still burning during the call for morning prayer (Subuh).

"The religious school did not have an operating licence from the local authorities", he said.

"Most of the ones who died were my seniors who have stayed here longer", said Danial who expressed disappointment over his failure to save more of his friends.

Soiman said the school had submitted a request for fire safety approval but no new checks had been carried out as the request was still being processed.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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