Malaysia school fire kills 24 children and teachers

Malaysia school fire kills 24 children and teachers

At least 24 people were killed early today in a fire that broke out in the sleeping quarters of an Islamic boarding school in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, local officials said. Malaysia's housing minister, Noh Omar, told journalists from news outlets including CNN that there have been 29 similar incidents involving fires at religious schools.

Mohd Daniel Borhan, a 15-year-old student who survived the fire, said he woke up during the night but saw the main door area was already having fire.

Firefighters and witnesses 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.

Another 14 students and four teachers managed to escape or were rescued, he added. "If it was, the fire will need about 30 minutes to go that big", he told The Malaysian Insight, adding that this blaze spread very quickly.

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According to the City Fire and Rescue Services Department, 22 students and two wardens had died in the fire which gutted the school's entire third floor.

"Unfortunately there was only one entrance, so they could not escape", he said.

Khirudin said the department believed there were other elements outside the building which caused the fire and a thorough investigation was going on.

They reportedly suffered a number of serious injuries and smoke inhalation problems.

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

Such schools are not regulated by the education ministry of the country.

The fire erupted shortly before dawn in the school Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah, located in the district of Datuk Keramat, with a muslim majority.

"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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He said the premises had been only temporary but those running the school should nevertheless have followed safety requirements.

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