‘Vic­tims died of smoke in­hala­tion’

New Straits Times - - News / Story Of The Day -

KUALA LUMPUR: The au­top­sies car­ried out on all 23 vic­tims of the morn­ing fire that gut­ted Darul Qu­ran It­ti­faqiyah Tah­fiz, in­di­cated that they died of smoke and poi­sonous gas in­hala­tion.

Sources close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion told the New Straits Times that the 21 stu­dents and two teach­ers died after in­hal­ing toxic gas, in­clud­ing car­bon monox­ide, re­leased from burn­ing items in the build­ing.

“Their cause of death was sim­i­lar, which was ex­ces­sive in­hala­tion of smoke and poi­son gas.

“The burn­ing items pro­duced toxic gas. The ex­ces­sive smoke re­duced the level of oxy­gen in the area caus­ing breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties,” the source said, adding that the vic­tims’ bod­ies were se­verely burnt.

The source said the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process for most of the vic­tims were car­ried out by match­ing the vic­tims’ blood or bone sam­ples to their par­ents’.

“The ex­perts used DNA sam­pling to iden­tify the vic­tims.

“Even their rel­a­tives could not iden­tify their loved ones,” the source said.

It was learnt that the author­i­ties were un­able to con­duct fin­ger­print iden­ti­fi­ca­tion as their fin­gers were badly burnt.

“The team also could not carry out den­tal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion be­cause most of them were chil­dren and had never un­der­gone den­tal check­ups.

“Hence, the ma­jor­ity of them were iden­ti­fied through blood and bone tests,” the source added.

At the Kuala Lumpur Hospi­tal, par­ents, de­spite be­ing ad­vised not to look at the de­ceased, in­sisted on tak­ing a fi­nal look at their loved ones.

“They were ad­vised against it but some of the rel­a­tives in­sisted on look­ing at their loved ones for the last time.

“They were first shown pic­tures of the vic­tims on the lap­top but some in­sisted on look­ing at the re­mains of chil­dren,” the source said.

The NST learnt that there were four foren­sic teams and three den­tal teams com­pris­ing ex­perts from the Health Min­istry, Armed Forces and uni­ver­si­ties.

The DNA test­ing was done by the Chem­istry Depart­ment.

“Re­sults from the Chem­istry Depart­ment were con­cluded around noon, but we needed to en­dorse it first, so ev­ery­thing was com­pleted around 1.30pm.”

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