Chil­dren trapped in school blaze screamed for help

The Cairns Post - - WORLD -

A FIRE killed 24 peo­ple, mostly teenagers, trapped be­hind barred win­dows and a blocked exit in an Is­lamic school dor­mi­tory on the out­skirts of Malaysia’s cap­i­tal Kuala Lumpur early yes­ter­day, of­fi­cials said.

Fire­fight­ers rushed to the scene af­ter re­ceiv­ing a dis­tress call at 5.41am and took an hour to put out the blaze, which started on the top floor of the three-storey build­ing, Kuala Lumpur po­lice chief Amar Singh said. He said there were at least 24 charred bod­ies, 22 of them boys be­tween 13 and 17, and two teach­ers.

Mr Singh said 14 other stu­dents and four teach­ers were res­cued, with six of them hos­pi­talised in crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

“We be­lieve (they died of) suf­fo­ca­tion ... the bod­ies were to­tally burnt,” he said.

The fire broke out near the door of the boys’ dor­mi­tory, trap­ping the vic­tims as it was the only en­trance and the win­dows are grilled, fire de­part­ment se­nior of­fi­cial Abu Obai­dat Mo­hamad Saithal­i­mat said.

He said the cause was be­lieved to be an elec­tri­cal short­cir­cuit. A res­i­dent, Nurhay­ati Abdul Halim, told lo­cal me­dia that she saw the boys cry­ing and scream­ing for help when the fire broke.

“I saw their lit­tle hands out of the grilled win­dows; cry­ing for help ... I heard their screams and cries but I could not do any­thing,” she said.

Pic­ture: AP

TRAGIC: The school.

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