Blaze at Islamic school not caused by short circuit: Malaysia fire department

Residents heard cries for help at religious school engulfed by fire

"We are investigating the cause of the fire", observed, for its part, the Centre" s director of fire and rescue Kuala Lumpur, Khirudin Drahman. He says six students and a resident who went to help were hospitalized, with four of them in critical condition. "All of the bodies were found grouped together on each other", he added. He said it was the worst fire incident in the past two decades and they are trying to establish the cause of the incident.

The police clarified that the death toll stood at 24, as earlier reports said 25 people had been killed.

"All 31 religious and tahfiz schools management in the state will be called soon, for us to clarify further on the fire safety plans", he said.

The fire broke out at around 5.40 am in a top-floor dormitory in the three-storey building where most of the students were sleeping in bunk beds, with numerous windows covered by metal grills, firemen said.

More than 60 percent of multicultural Malaysia's population of about 30 million are Muslim Malay, and the country is also home to substantial religious and ethnic minorities. It is one of the worst fires involving so many lives in the capital in recent years, said Loga Bala Mohan, according to AFP.

The Malaysian prime minister Mohd Najib Tun Razak tweeted "Innalillah".

Firefighters and witnesses described scenes of horror - first of boys screaming for help behind barred windows as neighbours watched helplessly, and later of burnt bodies huddled in corners of the rooms in the Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah.

'May their souls be blessed, ' he wrote while on a three day visit to the US. But, till then, numerous students have lost their lives in the fire accident.

Officials said that the children were unable to escape the fire because the blaze blocked the only door to the top-floor dormitory and the windows were closed off with metal security grilles.

A number of students were also taken to the hospital, some suffering from smoke inhalation.

"We will look at all angles", he said, adding that police would question school authorities as well as survivors.

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