At least 23 killed in fire at Kuala Lumpur Islamic school

Fire in Kuala Lumpur

A total of 23 students and two wardens died in a fire in the religious school, Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah, at Jalan Keramat Ujung here early Thursday.

"The children were crying for help, but I couldn't help them as the door was already on fire", he said.

Firefighters contained the fire within an hour but not before it claimed over 20 lives.

The victims were trapped behind barred windows and a blocked exit on the top floor of the three-story building on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital.

"I and two students broke the grills and went down using a pipe line and two more students jumped from upstairs", he added. He said, 14 students and four teachers were rescued, with six of them hospitalized in critical condition.

After the fire broke out, nine fire engines and several operators are making efforts to douse the fire. "My son really cares for his friends as he is one of the oldest students at the school", she said, sobbing. The Fire and Rescue Department and police will investigate it thoroughly.

According to media sources, Amar Singh who is the Kuala Lampur police chief said that the boys aged from 13-17 years were possibly suffocated due to smoke inhalation. The cause of the fire is still not known.

Officials say that bodies were stacked on top of each other, one after the other. "All the bodies were found lumped on one another".

The latest tragedy was "the effect of the absence of enforcement, and the failure to abide by rules and regulations by the operators of the religious school", said Mr Chandra Muzaffar, a political scientist who promotes Islamic reform.

"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.

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