School fire kills at least 23 students in Kuala Lumpur

23 and two members of staff are among the dead after the blaze ripped through a school in the Malaysian capital

The school engulfed by the deadly blaze, in Kuala Lumpur (Photo: @Bharianmy/Twitter)
The school engulfed by the deadly blaze, in Kuala Lumpur (Photo: @Bharianmy/Twitter)

At least 23 people, most of them students, were killed in a fire that tore through a religious school in Kuala Lumpur this morning.

“The number of confirmed dead is 23 students and two staff members” said Khirudin Drahman, director of Kuala Lumpur’s fire and rescue department. He added that it was one of the worst fire tragedies the country has seen in over 20 years.

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.

Fire-fighters had the blaze out within an hour, but the damage was extensive. Kuala Lumpur police chief Amar Singh said the victims’ bodies were “totally burnt

“Unfortunately there was only one entrance, so they could not escape”, he said. “All the bodies were found lumped on one another”.

According to the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department, the blaze started in the sleeping quarters on the top floor. Seven people were taken to a nearby hospital to treat their injuries and another 11 were rescued.

Pictures in the local media showed ash-covered, fire-blackened beds as reports emerged that the students and adult wardens were killed – either trapped by the fire or from smoke inhalation.

Loga Bala Mohan, the deputy minister for federal territories, said: “We sympathise with the families. It is one of the worst fires involving so many lives in the capital in recent years.

“We urgently want the authorities to quickly probe the cause of the deadly fire so that we will be able to prevent future disasters.”

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