With only one door, victims couldn't escape fire at religious school

Malaysian Fire and Rescue personnel stand outside the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah religious school in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur

The fire erupted shortly before dawn in the school Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah, located in the district of Datuk Keramat, with a muslim majority. Seven people suffered injuries relating to the fire, while 11 who were rescued also escape harm from the flames. The firefighters quickly attended the scene and the fire was extinguished after an hour.

Except for two teachers, the rest of the victims were students.

View of the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah School building after the horrific fire.

According to reports, neighbors woke up to cries for help from the boys who were trapped inside the seminary.

Nik Azlan Nik Abdul Kadir, who lost a 12-year-old in the fire, hugged his sobbing wife outside the school, and said he had seen his son only the previous evening. "We wanted to help the others, but we couldn't because the fire was rampant", he said.

Shortly after the fire broke out, pictures started surfacing on the internet showing the charred building and ash-covered beds.

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'I broke a window and grabbed a pipe attached to the outside of the building and I used it to escape to the ground, ' he said. "We are now investigating the cause of the fire", Drahman added.

It was the latest controversy involving one of the country's Islamic schools, which are overseen by religious authorities rather than the education ministry, and has prompted calls for better regulation. "Every one of the bodies were discovered lumped on each other".

"This also would have made it hard for victims to escape in an emergency", he said. Fire officials said they suspected the blaze - one of the deadliest in Malaysia for two decades - was caused by an electrical short circuit, or a mosquito repelling device.

"Based on our initial investigations, the position the victims were found in indicated that they tried to escape through the windows but were stopped due to the fixed grilles on the windows", fire and rescue department operations deputy director Soiman Jahid said.

There were 519 tahfiz schools registered across the country as of April, but many more were believed to be unregistered, the paper said.

Safety concerns have been raised time and again following a series of fire incidents at such private religious schools.

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