Fire at Kuala Lumpur's Islamic school kills 25 students and teachers

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At least 21 boys, ages 13 to 17, and two teachers were killed in the blaze Thursday at the Darul Koran Ittifaqiyah school in Kuala Lumpur, according to media reports.

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.

Firefighters said it took an hour to extinguish the blaze.

Local officials had initially announced the death of 25 people, but the police have revised the balance sheet at 24: 22 students and two teachers.

Officials said the school was operating without a fire safety permit and license, and that a dividing wall was illegally built on the top floor that blocked the victims from a second exit.

POLICE will leave no stone unturned in the investigation into the fire that broke out yesterday in Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah in Kuala Lumpur. "The children were crying for help, but I couldn't help them as the door was already on fire", one neighbor told Reuters.

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"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. But he says a wall was built dividing that floor, leaving only one exit for the dorm.

Another fire department official, Soiman Jahid, said firefighters heard shouts for help when they arrived at the school.

The city's Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said that six students and a member of the public were injured during the incident, The Malaysian Times reported.

When met by theSun, a relative said the remains of a 14-year-old student had been identified by his mother. He added that it was one of the worst fire tragedies the country has seen in over 20 years.

Muslim-majority Malaysia offers a secular education system, but growing conservatism has led to a boom in the number of Islamic religious schools, most privately-run and not overseen by education authorities.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters that it isn't the first such incident, adding that all Islamic religious schools were required to register and follow safety requirements.

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