Malaysia school fire kills 23 children and teachers

Malaysia

At least 25 people, including 23 students and two wardens, died in a fire at a religious school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday, BBC reported. According to witnesses, they called for help through the gridlock windows. It's sad to read Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Center burned & killed more than 20 lives.

Local media report the school could have been operating against government regulations, because its fire safety permit application was allegedly still pending.

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. They also showed emergency workers trying to control the blaze. This incident is being termed as one of the country's worst fire disasters for years.

"They escaped by breaking through a grille, and then jumping down, some of them came down holding onto (drain) pipes", said Health Minister S. Subramaniam.

Tahfiz are religious schools in Malaysia, where children study the Koran.

The fire started in one of the bedrooms on the third floor of the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz Centre in Kuala Lumpur, shortly before 6am.

"We will continue to carry out investigations, especially through forensics, as we found that there was some security features that should have been complied with but weren't", Zahid told reporters outside the school.

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"It is premature to tell the cause of the fire".

The fire broke out near the only door to the boys' dormitory, trapping the victims because the windows were barred, fire department senior official Abu Obaidat Mohamad Saithalimat said.

"The sad part is during this incident, there is only one entrance to exit so the students were trapped inside", Singh said.

They are unregulated by the education ministry, being the responsibility of the religious department.

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

Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he hopes schools will review their safety measures.

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