Tahfiz School Blaze Kills 23 In One Of The Country's Worst Fire Disasters In 20 Years

The fire broke out at around 5.15am at Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah in Kuala Lumpur.

Cover image via Twitter/bombaJBPM/New Straits Times/Mohd Yusni Ariffin

"Abang, tolong panas!" - Neighbours heard screams from tahfiz school blaze

Image via Berita Harian

Free Malaysia Today (FMT) spoke to Shahirman Sharil, who lives nearby the tahfiz school. He said that he heard screams coming from the building at around 5am.

"It was dark, except for the raging fire on the third floor of the school. Along with other people in the neighbourhood, I tried to help the students. We asked them to jump out of the building and told them we'll catch them.

"Some were already burned. We were just trying to do whatever we can to help them while waiting for the firemen to put out the fire," the 39-year-old told FMT.

It was also reported that the students had tried to escape, but were unable to do so as they couldn't open the grilles in the school

Firefighters removing one of the bodies from the scene.

Image via The Malaysian Insight/Hasnoor Hussain

"All the windows were barred by grilles and there was only one door (to enter and exit).

"There is only one door to go in and out and it is in the middle. (Due to the fire) it looks like the children ran left and right to the windows. But the grilles… they are not the type of safety grilles that can be opened," Abu Obaidad Mohamad, deputy director of the fire and rescue department told Astro Awani.

"The door (to the bedroom) was not locked, it was open. But the fire was near the door. So, they ran to the windows but they were not safety windows," Kuala Lumpur police chief Amar Singh, explained, as reported by The Malaysian Insight.

Based on initial investigations, authorities believe that a short-circuit which happened at the main door entrance, may have caused the fire.

14 September, 11.30am: 23 people have been killed in a 5.15am fire at Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah at Jalan Keramat Hujung in Kuala Lumpur today, 14 September

According to a report by New Straits Times, a spokesman from the City Fire and Rescue Department said that they received an alert call about the incident at around 5.41am.

Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah

Image via Hasnoor Hussain/The Malaysian Insight

"The number of confirmed dead are 21 pupils and two teachers," Khirudin Drahman, director of Kuala Lumpur's fire and rescue department told AFP.

It was reported that most of the victims are believed to be between the ages of 13 and 17.

The Malaysian Insight reported that three out of five people who were rescued from the blaze are in critical condition in Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL).

It was reported that the authorities believe that the fire started out in one of the bedrooms at the top floor of the three-storey religious school.

When the fire and rescue officials arrived at the scene, the fire was "raging". It took them around 25 minutes to control the fire.

The officers found the bodies on the top floor but they've yet to confirm the total number of victims.

"It really does not make sense for so many to die in the fire. I think it is one of the country's worst fire disasters in the past 20 years. We are now investigating the cause of the fire," Khirudin Drahman told AFP.

A woman, believed to be the mother of one of the victims, seen outside the school.

Image via New Straits Times/Mohd Yusni Ariffin

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