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16 September 2017, 01:20 | Marta Robbins
Residents heard cries for help at religious school engulfed by fire
He said it was not known if such schools were now required to undertake risk assessments to identify aspects like general fire precautions for the safety of occupants, including suitable means of escape. They noted that the original architectural design for the dorm included two staircases for exit, but a wall made it impossible for students to access the second exit.
The fire department was called shortly after the fire began and quickly arrived to the area.
"The fight could have taken place a long time ago and not related to this incident", he said.
The room in which the fire started, measuring 20ft by 40ft, was said by a fire brigade spokesman, quoted by the New Straits Times, to have been littered with charred bodies.
Police and bystanders outside fire damaged building that housed religious school. The Malaysian fire department people tried to blaze out the fire. Initial reports said 23 people had lost their lives in the fire.
Two teachers were also killed in the fire at the Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah, a 15-minute drive from the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, police said, adding that most of the victims died from smoke inhalation.
The director of police of Kuala Lumpur, Amar Singh, said that "the bodies were burned".
Horrific accounts emerged of students screaming in desperation because they were unable to escape the inferno as the dormitory's only door was on fire and metal security grilles barred the windows. He says six students and a resident who went to help were hospitalized, with four of them in critical condition. "I think this is one of the worst tragedy in the country over the past 20 years".
The victims' families and relatives are already in the premises to claim the remains for burial.
Fire department official Soiman Jahid told Reuters that the fire might have been caused by a short circuit or mosquito-repellent coil.
Renovations done on the building had disregarded safety recommendations and also blocked access to a stairwell by which those trapped on the higher floors could have escaped.
"We hope and pray this will be the last such incidence and preventive actions must be in place and be the order of the day", he said.
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