Fire kills at least 25 at religious school in Malaysia

Fire kills at least 25 at religious school in Malaysia

At least 25 people, including students, were killed after a blaze broke out early on Thursday at a religious school in Kuala Lumpur.

The fire at Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah – a “tahfiz” boarding school where students learn to memorise the Quran – was reported at 5:40am (21:40 GMT Wednesday), according to a statement from the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department.

Khirudin Drahman, director of Kuala Lumpur’s fire and rescue department, told AFP news agency the number of confirmed dead are 23 students and two teachers.

“It really does not make sense for so many to die in the fire,” he said. “I think it is one of the country’s worst fire disasters in the past 20 years. We are now investigating the cause of the fire.”

Seven people were taken to a nearby hospital for injuries, while 11 others were rescued.

Firefighters rushed to the scene and the blaze was out within an hour, but not before it wreaked terrible devastation – pictures in local media showed ash-covered, fire-blackened beds.

An official said bodies were piled on top of each other, indicating a possible stampede as people tried to flee the fire.

Loga Bala Mohan, the government’s federal territories deputy minister, said: “We sympathise with the families. It is one of the worst fires involving so many lives. We urgently want the authorities to quickly probe the cause of the deadly fire so that we will be able to prevent future disasters.”

Tahfiz schools usually teach students between the ages of five and 18.

The blaze began in the sleeping quarters on the top floor of the three-storey school building, fire officials said. 

There were 519 tahfiz schools registered across the country as of April, but many more are believed to be unregistered.

Such schools are unregulated by the education ministry and fall under the purview of the religious department.

Source: News agencies

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