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Published: Sat, September 16, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Police to explore every angle in case of tahfiz school fire

Police to explore every angle in case of tahfiz school fire

A fire department official in Malaysia says a fire at an Islamic religious school on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur has killed at least 25 people, mostly teenagers.

As per the details, the fire engulfed the three-storey school named Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah located at Jalan Keramat Ujung at approximately 5.15am.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Amar Singh Ishar Singh said the bodies were found at two locations on the third floor of the building which was occupied by 36 students. Officials said firefighters controlled the fire in less than an hour. Rest two are wardens.

A cramped hostel and locked emergency exits were among the discoveries found by the state Fire and Rescue Department team, during an inspection held at a tahfiz school here today.

Firefighters and witnesses have described scenes of horror - first of boys screaming for help behind barred windows as neighbors watched helplessly, and later of burned bodies huddled in corners of the room. The investigation is going on about the cause of the fire accident.

The fire broke out near an entrance on the second floor. "I pray they have the strength to get through this hard time", he said.

The authorities said the fire could have been caused by mischief, dismissing an earlier theory that an electrical short circuit was to blame.

Malaysian specialists have raised worries about security measures at unregulated private religious schools.

"This also would have made it hard for victims to escape in an emergency", he said.

Family members of Mohamad Haikal Abdullah, a 12-year-old who died in the blaze, were furious over reports that the only door to the school's dormitory had caught fire while metal bars on the windows trapped the boys, leaving them unable to escape.

It was the latest controversy involving one of the country's Islamic schools, which are overseen by religious authorities rather than the education ministry, and has prompted calls for better regulation.

About 60 per cent of Malaysia's population of over 30 million are Muslim Malays, and the country is also home to substantial ethnic and religious minorities.

Safety should be the utmost priority, he noted, adding that he hopes all schools will review their safety standards in the event of a fire after this incident.

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