KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – The principal of a private Malaysian Islamic school says a dormitory razed by fire was being used as a temporary boarding house because the main school building was under renovation.
Mohamad Zahid Mahmod told the Berita Harian online newspaper on Thursday that the renovation work took a year and the students were due to move back into the main building at the end of this month.
He said the students would have been preparing for their dawn prayers at the time of the fire. Officials say 23 people were killed.
Mohamad Zahid said the school has been operating for 15 years and is registered with the state Islamic religious council. He said it housed 42 students, six teachers and two wardens.
An official with the state religious council, however, said it has no record of the school.
Malaysian police are now saying 23 students and teachers have died in a fire at an Islamic school dormitory, not 24 as they had stated earlier.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Amar Singh says those killed in the Thursday morning fire include 21 students and two teachers. He had earlier said there were 22 students.
The victims were trapped behind barred windows and a blocked exit on the top floor of the three-story building on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital.
Health Minister S. Subramaniam says the 23 bodies have been taken to the forensics department to be identified by family members. He says six students and a resident who went to help were hospitalized, with four of them in critical condition.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – A fire department official in Malaysia says a fire at an Islamic religious school on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur has killed at least 25 people, mostly teenagers.
The official says the fire started early Thursday at the top floor of the three-story building that is believed to be a dormitory. He says the dead were 23 teenage boys and two adults. The official declined to be named as he isn’t authorized to give a statement.
The official said the bodies were piled on top of each other, indicating a possible stampede as people tried to flee the fire. He said police are still confirming the final numbers and cause of the fire.