Including Children Killed in Fire at Kuala Lumpur School

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

By the time firefighters arrived at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah religious school in the heart of the capital, "the screams had stopped", she added.

The victims are thought to been trapped in their dormitory as the windows were barred with metal grilles.

Starting tallies put the loss of life at 25, yet police later reexamined that around one. He said, 14 students and four teachers were rescued, with six of them hospitalized in critical condition. According to the police it began in the sleeping quarters.

In 1989, 27 female students at a private Islamic school were killed when their residence hall was set on fire.

Images and videos circulating online showed the entire upper room of the school ablaze.

Officials say that this is the worst fire disaster to strike the country in two decades.

Fire department operations deputy director Soiman Jahid said the cause was likely a short circuit or a mosquito repellent coil. He added that the school submitted an application for a fire safety permit that hadn't been approved.

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"This avoidable tragedy is a horrendous reminder to the government that all schools, including religious schools must be regulated by the ministry of education to ensure adherence to procedures for setting up the schools", he said.

It has been reported that the victims were unable to escape either through the grilled windows of the building or through the school's dormitory door which was blocked by two cooking gas cylinders.

"I could hear screaming, I thought there were people fighting".

According to some witnesses, desperate students were crying for help after the fire broke out.

"The pupils all got locked in and they couldn't escape and got burnt", Nadia Azalan, sister of a 13-year-old victim, told Reuters in tears as distraught family members gathered outside the building.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Amar Singh Ishar Singh said the bodies were found at two locations on the third floor of the building which was occupied by 36 students. One survivor said there was just one window the boys managed to open.

"We found that the fire had spread in a odd and unusual manner, quickly, and in a big way".

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