25 killed in Malaysia school fire

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At least 24 people, mostly students, were killed after a massive fire erupted in an Islamic boarding school in Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur.

"The Fire and Rescue department said the building management did apply for a fire safety permit, but that's about it".

"The youngsters were sobbing for help, yet I couldn't help them as the entryway was at that point ablaze", he said.

Firefighters rushed to the scene and the blaze was out within an hour but it wreaked bad devastation.

Roslan, a religious teacher, when asked about the students, spoke fondly of them.

Seven people were now being treated at the hospital, four of them for serious injuries.

Officials called it one of the country's worst fire disasters for years. "Every one of the bodies were discovered lumped on each other". The fire, which was sparked by an electric short circuit, spread to the third floor of the teenage boys' dormitory blocking their exit. "They could have died due to smoke inhalation or got trapped in the fire", he added. The fire broke out just before dawn and firefighters were able to put it out within an hour but till that time already major damage had been caused.

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Mr Singh said police were still finalising the details and investigating the cause.

Officials said that the children were unable to escape the fire because the blaze blocked the only door to the top-floor dormitory and the windows were closed off with metal security grilles.

The official had earlier said 25 bodies were found, but the more recent tally of dead and injured matches the number of people thought to have resided there.

Such schools are not regulated by the education ministry of the country.

In October past year six people died in a fire that swept through the intensive care unit of a major hospital in the southern state of Johor.

Soiman said the school had submitted a request for fire safety approval but no new checks had been carried out as the request was still being processed.

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