KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia-A predawn fire tore through an Islamic boarding school in the Malaysian capital Thursday, killing at least 23 people, mostly students trapped in their sleeping quarters, officials said.
Initial pictures and videos of the incident showed the entire upper side of the school catching fire.
Health Minister S. Subramaniam said six other students and a resident who went to help were hospitalized, with four of them in critical condition.
Prime Minister Najib Razak expressed his sympathies on Twitter: "It's sad to read Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Centre burned & killed more than 20 lives". Police later updated the death toll to 22 students and two teachers.
Speaking about the burials for the deceased, Jamil said most of the families of the victims had chosen for the bodies to be buried in one location, while some had chosen to bury the deceased in other places. "If it was, the fire will need about 30 minutes to go that big", he told The Malaysian Insight, adding that this blaze spread very quickly.
Officials called it one of the country's worst fire disasters for years.
A awful fire broke out in a seminary in Malaysia just before dawn on Thursday resulting in the death of 22 young students and two teachers. The bodies of two school teachers were also found next to them. He said police are still confirming the final numbers and cause of the fire.
He added this year alone, there were about 30 fire incidents involving tahfiz schools.
They reportedly suffered a number of serious injuries and smoke inhalation problems. The cause of the fire is not known yet.
Officials said they were unable to leave through the only door to the dormitory, as it was on fire.
Twenty-three students and handlers at the private tahfiz school at Jalan Datuk Keramat died following a predawn fire today.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he hopes schools will review their safety measures.