The fire broke out at an Islamic religious boarding school Thursday morning.
Twenty-three people, mostly children, were killed Thursday when a blaze tore through a Malaysian religious school, trapped in their dormitory by metal grilles on the windows.
The blaze at the Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah broke out around 5.40 am.
Firefighters and witnesses described scenes of horror - first of boys screaming for help behind barred windows as neighbors watched helplessly, and later of burned bodies huddled in corners of the room.
The official who confirmed the deaths of the 25 students and teachers, thinks it is one of Malaysia's worst fire disasters in the last 20 years.
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Six other students were in hospital in critical condition, police chief Singh said, while a handful escaped unhurt. As indicated by the police it started in the resting quarters.
Fire officials said they suspected the blaze was caused by an electrical short circuit, or a mosquito repelling device. "We are now investigating the cause of the fire".
Danial Borhan, 15, said that he, along with 12 other students, had slid down the pipe and saved themselves from the raging fire.
He added that the tahfiz centre, which was built following contributions from the surau, had been operating for only about a year.
These schools are unregulated by the education ministry and fall under the purview of the religious department.
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"I saw their little hands out of the grilled windows; crying for help", she said.
He said the victims who were students were all boys aged between 13 and 17.
"We believe [they died of] suffocation ... the bodies were totally burnt", he said.They also showed emergency workers trying to control the blaze.
"We will take care of the process right up to their burials as our way of expressing our sympathies to the families", Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the Malaysian newspaper.
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