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DNA tests needed to identify bodies, says health minister

 | September 14, 2017

He says this will take a couple of days to complete as some of the fire victims were badly burned.

S-Subramaniam1KUALA LUMPUR: DNA tests are currently ongoing to identify the 23 victims who died in the fire at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school early this morning, said Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam.

He said the tests were needed as many of them were burnt badly in the fatal incident.

“This makes it difficult for us to identify the bodies.

“The Chemistry Department and the hospital unit are currently working at full capacity to get DNA samples of the parents to match them with the bodies.

“We hope to get this done as soon as possible to quickly identify the bodies, possibly in a couple of days,” he said during a press conference at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital today.

Subramaniam, together with his deputy Dr Hilmi Yahaya, spent about 30 minutes with family members of victims.

He also conveyed his condolences to the family members of the fire victims.

The victims comprised 21 students, aged between 11 and 14, as well as two teachers.

He said the hospital had received a call at 5.44am on the fire incident. Soon after, it activated the disaster management operation.

The first victim arrived at the hospital at 6.40am.

Subramaniam said in the fire, seven others were injured, six of them tahfiz school students and the other a resident who had come to help.

All seven, he said, were treated at HKL’s emergency unit, with four of them sustaining serious injuries and the remaining three sustaining light injuries.

“Two of those seriously injured have already been moved to the ward for further treatment, while another two are being treated at the emergency unit,” he said.

Subramaniam said the nature of the injuries varied, as some had broken the grille and jumped down, while others had slid down pipes.

Among the injuries, he said, were broken bones, fractured pelvis, and injuries to the lungs and liver. Some require surgery.

According to AFP, the blaze broke out at the tahfiz school, located along Jalan Keramat Ujung, just before dawn.

Firefighters rushed to the scene and the blaze was put out within an hour but not before it had wreaked terrible devastation.

A Fire and Rescue Department official at the scene said the blaze broke out in a bedroom before dawn and firefighters from a nearby station were on the scene within minutes.

It was earlier reported that 23 students and two wardens had died in the fire, with six students sent to Hospital Kuala Lumpur for treatment.

The school had 36 students and six teachers.

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