Malaysia school fire kills at least 24

Published: September 14, 2017 16:47:38 | Updated: October 24, 2017 10:12:01

Picture from inside the school showed charred beds and scorched windows on the top floor. Photo credit: Reuters

At least 24 students and teachers died in a fire at a religious school in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur.


The fire at the Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah broke out in the early hours of Thursday morning.


The victims were trapped in their dormitory as the windows were barred with metal grilles, reports BBC.


Initial counts put the death toll at 25, but police later revised that down by one.


Police said the dead were 22 students - all boys between the age of 13 and 17 - and two staff members.


Ten people were admitted at hospitals. Four of them are in critical conditions.


The blaze started in the sleeping quarters around 05:40 local time on Thursday morning (21:40 GMT Wednesday), says local police.


"Based on our initial investigations, the position the victims were found in indicated that they tried to escape through the windows but were stopped due to the fixed grilles on the windows," said fire and rescue department operations deputy director Soiman Jahid.


He said police were still investigating the cause of fire but most likely it was caused by short circuit or a lit mosquito repellent coil.


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


Malaysia's urban wellbeing and housing minister said there had been 29 fire incidents at tahfiz schools in the country since 2015.


Malaysian authorities have raised concerns about safety measures at unregulated private religious schools.

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