Fire kills at least 25 at religious school in Malaysian capital

Fire kills at least 25 at religious school in Malaysian capital

Fire kills at least 25 at religious school in Malaysian capital

The teens pressed their faces to the windows of their school dormitory, begging for rescue. "Just when you think they're going to stop unloading the van, more brought out", Sumisha Naidu, a correspondent for Channel News Asia, said in a Twitter post.

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

More than 200 fires had broken out at schools since 215, the department revealed.

"I heard their screams and cries but I could not do anything."

The blaze broke out at around 5:15 this morning, in the three-storey building of the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah school, located in the centre of the city. Also, the windows are having grills through which students can not exit.

One of the van drivers who is based at Masjid Ibnu Khaldun Sungai Besi said when met that they had not been informed on the location of the burial grounds.

The fire was believed to have started at the exit. He was awakened by screaming and managed to escape. The cause of the fire is not known yet. "There was nothing we could do".

Firefighters contained the fire within an hour but not before it claimed over 20 lives. Once inside, emergency officials described blackened rooms, charred bed frames lining the walls and burned bodies huddled in corners.

Loga Bala Mohan, the government's federal territories deputy minister, said: "We sympathise with the families".

Rescuers found the bodies of 21 schoolboys and two teachers in piles, indicating there may have been a stampede as the students sought to escape the inferno.

School principal Mohamad Zahid Mahmod has told local media the students were being housed in a temporary building because of renovation work at the main school building. "We need the black and white report so that we can move to the next step further", he told reporters at Bukit Aman here yesterday.

Safety concerns have been raised time and again following a series of fire incidents at such private religious schools. Six of the injured were students and one was a resident living near the school who came to help. "We couldn't save the students as there was not enough water to extinguish the fire", recounted a teary-eyed Mr Arif.

He said the victims who were students were all boys aged between 13 and 17.

At the burial site on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, 12 graves were being prepared and chairs had been set up under canopies for family members.

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