Malaysia fire: Boys 'cried from barred windows' as 23 killed

Last year's Better Beer Festival drew more than 3,500 craft beer lovers to the event at Publika

Last year’s Better Beer Festival drew more than 3,500 craft beer lovers to the event at Publika

At least 24 people, mostly children, were killed today (Thursday) in Malaysia after they were burned alive in an Islamic school within the country's capital city of Kuala Lumpur. The school is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and all the victims were boys in their early teens.

Ahmad Tarmizi, a 46-year-old local resident who lives across the school, said he was going to a nearby mosque to pray when he saw the raging fire on the third floor of the school. Many of them were also orphans who came here to study about religion.

Mr Singh said 14 other students and four teachers were rescued, with six of them hospitalised in critical condition.

The tahfiz school that caught fire and caused 23 deaths this morning was due to move to a new location at the end of the month, said its principal.

"They were sent to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital for treatment", he said.

Numerous bodies of the victims - who included 22 boys aged between 13 and 17 - were found piled on top of one another, indicating there may have been a stampede as the students sought to escape the blaze which erupted before dawn.

Pictures in the local media showed ash-covered, fire-blackened beds as reports emerged that the students and adult wardens were killed - either trapped by the fire or from smoke inhalation.

The fire broke out in the rooms before dawn, according to an official of the fire services and emergency on-site. "All of the bodies were found grouped together on each other", he added.

Police are still confirming the final casualty toll and the cause of the fire.

Such schools are not regulated by the education ministry of the country.

Prime Minister Najib Razak 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".

"Before 6 o'clock, the firemen came but I think numerous people already died inside because of the smoke", Ahmad said.

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