Dorm fire at re­li­gious school kills at least 24

Marlborough Express - - WORLD -

MALAYSIA: A fire at an Is­lamic board­ing school for boys has killed at least 24 peo­ple, most of them stu­dents, in Malaysia’s cap­i­tal, Kuala Lumpur.

Of­fi­cials said they sus­pected an elec­tri­cal short cir­cuit caused the blaze that broke out yes­ter­day in a top-floor dor­mi­tory, where most of the stu­dents per­ished.

The fire at Darul Qu­ran It­ti­faqiyah, a ‘‘tah­fiz’’ board­ing school where stu­dents learn to mem­o­rise the Ko­ran, was re­ported around 5.40am lo­cal time, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the Malaysian Fire and Res­cue De­part­ment.

The of­fi­cials ini­tially gave a death toll of 25 peo­ple, but later re­vised it to 22 stu­dents and two war­dens. Seven in­jured peo­ple were taken to a nearby hospi­tal, while 11 oth­ers were res­cued.

The blaze be­gan in the sleep­ing quar­ters on the top floor of the three-storey school build­ing, the of­fi­cials said.

Kuala Lumpur po­lice chief Amar Singh said the boys who died were aged 13 to 17, and were prob­a­bly suf­fo­cated due to smoke in­hala­tion.

The dor­mi­tory had only one en­trance, leav­ing many of the vic­tims trapped in­side, he said. Some wit­nesses said they heard the stu­dents cry­ing for help af­ter the fire broke out.

‘‘They’re still count­ing the bod­ies, which were piled on top of each other in a cor­ner,’’ Singh said.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple, in­clud­ing the fam­i­lies of some vic­tims, gath­ered out­side the school as bod­ies were be­ing re­moved by fire of­fi­cials. Singh said no foul play was sus­pected.

Tah­fiz schools, which are un­reg­u­lated by Malaysia’s ed­u­ca­tion min­istry, have been un­der scru­tiny since ear­lier this year, when an 11-year-old boy died af­ter re­ported abuse in Jo­hor, north of Sin­ga­pore. - Reuters

IM­AGES: NASA

An artist’s ren­di­tion of what Cassini’s last mo­ments above Saturn will look like. The space probe will go out in a blaze of glory af­ter 13 years ex­plor­ing the ringed planet and its moons.

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