A fire at a school has killed at least 21 children in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, officials said.
The blaze, which broke out at a religious school in the early hours of Thursday, also left two adults dead.
Fire department official Soiman Jahid told , “when emergency responders first arrived on the scene, almost 90% of the building was already on fire.”
“The firemen could hear crises for help from inside the building,” he said.
“The first team from fire station managed to save five of the children from the lower level.” he added.
Jahid said firefighters found bodies in three different locations, all of them badly burned.
A large number of bodies piled on top of each other.
Hundreds of people, including families of some victims, gathered outside the school as more bodies were being removed by fire officials.
The blaze began in the sleeping quarters on the top floor of the three-storey school building, fire officials said.
The police chief said no foul play was suspected.
Mohamad Saithalimat, deputy director of the fire department, told the fire was likely caused by an electrical short circuit.
Loga Bala Mohan, the government’s federal territories deputy minister said, “We sympathise with the families. It is one of the worst fires involving so many lives. We urgently want the authorities to quickly probe the cause of the deadly fire so that we will be able to prevent future disasters.”
There were 519 tahfiz schools registered across the country as of April, but many more are believed to be unregistered.