Tragedy: Fire at Malaysian school kills 23 students, 2 teachers
Tragedy struck a religious school in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur. At least 23 students and two teachers died from a fire at the Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah, which broke out early Thursday morning. "I think it is one of the country's worst fire disasters in the past 20 years," said fire and rescue department director Khirudin Drahman.
The ages of the students killed remain unclear. Normally such schools house children aged five to 18. Videos and images posted online appear to show the school's upper room, where students sleep, ablaze. Fire engines were rushed to the site within minutes and the blaze was extinguished within an hour. Several surviving students had to be hospitalized. Some suffered from smoke inhalation.
Concerns had earlier been raised by authorities about safety measures at unregulated private religious schools. As many as 200 fires have been reported at such schools since 2015, according to local media.
Malaysian PM Najib Razak offered his condolences to those affected. "We sympathize with the families. It is one of the worst fires involving so many lives in the capital in recent years," said government minister Loga Bala Mohan. Mohan called for a quick investigation into the incident "so that we will be able to prevent future disasters."