‘Victims died of smoke inhalation’
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.”