Bomba: Religious school fire not caused by short circuit

Residents heard cries for help at religious school engulfed by fire

Malaysian police are now saying 23 students and teachers have died in a fire at an Islamic school dormitory, not 24 as they had stated earlier.

The blaze broke out before dawn on Thursday in the two-storey building of the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah school, located in the centre of the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

In the hours after the fire, family members rushed to the scene, only for some to be told that their child had died in the blaze. Two students from the school are still in critical condition.

"The school did not acquire a permit to begin its operations but was in the midst of applying for one", fire department's director general said.

He said his department had come back to the school with recommendations for fire safety, including equipment. Unfortunately, the fire was huge and we had to run to the ground floor instead.

"This is what he said, we don't just listen to verbal speeches, we need the black and white report". Pictures in local media showed ash-covered, fire-blackened beds in the students' sleeping quarters."The building was on fire as the (morning call to prayer) was sounding", Norhayati Abdul Halim, 46, who lives opposite the school, told AFP.

At least 15 bodies were found huddled together on another floor, it was reported.

Soiman Jahid, deputy director of Fire and Rescue Department, said numerous victims were found dead by the windows on the third floor because they were trapped by the fix grills on the windows.

Police have launched an investigation to determine the cause of the fire. It is one of the worst disasters in the recent times.

Almost 22 students and 2 wardens have died in Malaysian school fire accident.

A total of 36 students, aged between 13 and 17, and six teachers were living at the tahfiz (Quranic memorisation) school. The school also do not have any licence from the local religious authorities.

Students live in numerous religious schools in the country but authorities have raised concerns about the safety measures at these schools because they are unregulated.

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