Malaysian dor­mi­tory blaze kills 23

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS -


SIA » A fire that blocked the only exit to an Is­lamic school dor­mi­tory killed 23 peo­ple, mostly teenagers, on the out­skirts of Malaysia’s largest city early Thurs­day, of­fi­cials said. A gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said a wall sep­a­rat­ing the vic­tims from a sec­ond exit “shouldn’t have been there.”

Fire­fight­ers and wit­nesses de­scribed scenes of hor­ror — first of boys scream­ing for help be­hind barred win­dows as neigh­bors watched help­lessly, and later of burned bod­ies hud­dled in cor­ners of the room. Is­lamic teacher Arif Mawardy said he woke up to what he thought was a thun­der­storm, only to re­al­ize it was the sound of peo­ple scream­ing.

The blaze started about 5:40 a.m. on the top floor of the three-story build­ing, Kuala Lumpur po­lice chief Amar Singh said. He said 23 charred bod­ies were re­cov­ered — 21 boys be­tween the ages of 13 and 17 and two teachers.

Health Min­is­ter S. Subra­ma­niam said six other stu­dents and a res­i­dent who went to help were hos­pi­tal­ized, with four of them in crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

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