A religious school in Kampung Keramat, Kuala Lumpur was engulfed in flames early this morning claiming the lives of 23 students and two wardens. The City Fire and Rescue Department received a call about the incident at 5.41 am.
The fire appears to have started from the top floor of the three-storey building, trapping many inside the structure. All the windows in the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz Centre in Datuk Keramat were fitted with grills that could not be opened.
One of the students in the religious school, Muhd Izzarudin Roslan, 15, interviewed by NST reporters said that he was woken up by the loud sound of leaking gas and fire that seeped into the dorm room where the students were sleeping.
One witness, Shahirman Shahril, 39, said he was woken up at 5 am to the sound of people screaming that there was a fire.
“My friends and I jumped in to help. It was still dark outside and the fire was raging.
“We urged two or three tahfiz students to jump (from the upper floors) as the fire was raging. They all suffered burns.
“We couldn’t help that many as the fire was so big.
“Some of my friends actually made it to the upper floors of the school but had to turn back as it was too hot. We were made to understand that many people in the building were trapped.
“We heard some of them crying that it was hot, some were yelling ‘tolong abang, tolong’.”
Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department Deputy director-general Datuk Soiman Jahid said the remains were found at several locations, all near windows on the third floor of the religious learning facility.
He said authorities believed that the victims were trying to escape, but they had nowhere to run as the windows were fitted with grills and the fire was near the door.
Many family members have gathered at the scene grieving, crying and making calls on their mobile phones as they wait for updates from firefighters inside the burnt building.
Datuk Soiman said,
“When firemen were carrying out firefighting operation, they found 13 charred remains, many on top of each other at the right-hand side of the hostel, eight others at the left side while another was near the front door.
“(As of 11 am) the death toll of this tragedy is 24, including two teachers.
“Firemen who first arrived at the scene at 5.52 am had managed to rescue five other students using ladder. The victims were then rushed to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital for treatment.”
More than 20 people died in a fire at religious school in Jalan Datuk Keramat this morning.
Dikirim oleh The Star Online pada 13 September 2017
Datuk Soiman also said the Tahfiz started its operations before the permit was approved by the Fire and Rescue Department, the incident could be avoided if the school had followed the local government regulations in applying for the proper permits.
“Based on our investigations the school had not acquired a permit to begin its operations and it was applying for one.”
It is believed that the fire could have broken out due to the burning of mosquito coil or a short circuit.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is currently on a three-day visit to the United States has expressed his condolences over the incident on his twitter account,
“Innalillah. I am very sad to read that Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz Centre was destroyed by fire and killed more than 20 lives.
“May their souls be blessed by Allah SWT. Al-Fatihah.”
Datuk Soiman added:
“We will know more in two to three days. Our men are going through the area to see if we missed any victims.”
While waiting for more updates, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family of all the deceased and know that we are with you in this hardest time.