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Kuala Lumpur school fire kills students and teachers Kuala Lumpur school fire kills students and teachers
(35 minutes later)
At least 25 students and teachers have been killed in a fire at a religious school in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, officials say. At least 25 students and teachers have died in a fire at a religious school in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur.
The fire at the Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah broke out in the early hours of the morning.The fire at the Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah broke out in the early hours of the morning.
"The number of confirmed dead are 23 students and two wardens," Khirudin Drahman, director of the city's fire and rescue department, told the AFP news agency. "The number of confirmed dead are 23 students and two wardens," Khirudin Drahman, director of the fire and rescue department, told AFP.
Their ages were not immediately clear. "I think it is one of the country's worst fire disasters in the past 20 years," he said.
Such schools - where children study the Koran, usually as boarders - take children aged between five and 18. "It really does not make sense for so many to die."
The emergency official said the fire in the Jalan Datuk Keramat area could be "one of the country's worst fire disasters in the past 20 years". The ages of the students killed were not immediately clear. But Islamic tahfiz schools - where children study the Koran - usually take children aged between five and 18.
They often live at the school.
Safety concernsSafety concerns
Images posted by local media appeared to show the entire upper room of the school, where students would have been sleeping, ablaze. Images and videos circulating online appeared to show the entire upper room of the school, where students would have been sleeping, ablaze.
Distressed parents could also be seen gathering outside. Officials said that fire engines were at the site within minutes, and the blaze was put out within an hour.
Pictures later in the morning showed charred beds inside the school and scorched windows on the top floor.
A number of students were also reported to have been taken to hospital, some suffering from smoke inhalation.A number of students were also reported to have been taken to hospital, some suffering from smoke inhalation.
Malaysian authorities have raised concerns about safety measures at unregulated private religious schools after a series of fires. Prime Minister Najib Razak has tweeted his sympathies to those affected while a government minister said the incident should be quickly investigated "so that we will be able to prevent future disasters".
Local media report there have been more than 200 such fires since 2015. "We sympathise with the families. It is one of the worst fires involving so many lives in the capital in recent years, said Loga Bala Mohan, according to AFP.
Prime Minister Najib Razak has tweeted his sympathies to those affected. Malaysian authorities have raised concerns about safety measures at unregulated private religious schools.
Local media report there have been more than 200 fires at such schools since 2015.