25 people, mostly students, killed in Malaysia school fire

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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.

More than 24 understudies and educators have died in a fire at a religious school in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Fire officials said numerous bodies found in the school's dormitory had been burned beyond recognition, but they confirmed that the remains belonged to 22 boys, ages 13 to 17, and two teachers. 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 fire broke out in the rooms before dawn, according to an official of the fire services and emergency on-site.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Amar Singh told reporters the boys who died were aged 13-17, and that they were probably suffocated due to smoke inhalation.

But a wall was built dividing that floor, leaving only one exit for the dorm, he said, adding that the school submitted an application for a fire safety permit that hadn't been approved. "All the bodies were found lumped on one another", he added.

"I am sad that something like that has happened again", he said yesterday, as reported by Sinar Harian.

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It was the latest controversy involving one of the country's Islamic schools, which are overseen by religious authorities rather than the education ministry, and has prompted calls for better regulation.

"We found that the fire had spread in a odd and unusual way, quickly and in a big way", he told reporters at the scene here.

Malaysian Health Minister Dr. S Subramaniam said in a press conference at the hospital that DNA samples would be taken from the families of the deceased as the bodies were too badly burnt to identify the victims.

Boys cried for help from barred windows at dormitory in Kuala Lumpur. The school also do not have any licence from the local religious authorities.

Malaysian specialists have raised worries about security measures at unregulated private religious schools. "May Allah bless their souls", he wrote.

In 1989, 27 students were killed in a fire at a girls' hostel in the province of Kedah.