Children trapped in school blaze screamed for help
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.
TRAGIC: The school.