PETALING JAYA: The fire department is now investigating the possibility that the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school fire, which resulted in the deaths of 23 people today, was an act of mischief.
Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department director Khirudin Drahman said the initial theory that the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit, had been ruled out after reviewing the evidence obtained and witness testimonies.
“After we did a thorough inspection and used our K-9 (dog unit), we found that the fire started outside the dormitory on the second floor.
“The dogs also sniffed out traces of chemicals around the area, which we have sent to our lab,” he told FMT.
Khirudin added that those who survived the tragedy told authorities they were unable to leave the dormitory through the door.
“There were two cooking gas cylinders in front of the dormitory’s door,” he said.
“The cylinders should have been placed in the kitchen downstairs, on the ground floor.”
Earlier this morning, Kuala Lumpur police chief Amar Singh said police suspected that a short circuit had caused the fire.
But according to Khirudin, the Energy Commission which went to the school later today, found there was no sign of a short circuit, or even overloading of an electrical output.
Asked if he suspected that the fire was caused by someone either working or studying in the school, he said the fire department had not yet begun probing the possibility.
“We have to wait until the lab test is done, and we’ll pass the results to the police for them to investigate.
“Because if the fire was caused by mischief, then it would be considered a crime which falls under the police’s jurisdiction.
“But we want to solve this as fast as possible, because everyone wants to know what caused the fire,” he said.
The blaze broke out at the school, located on Jalan Keramat Ujung, just before dawn.
Firefighters rushed to the scene and the blaze was put out within an hour but not before it wreaked devastation.
A fire department official there said the blaze broke out in one of the bedrooms before dawn, and that firefighters from a nearby station were on the scene within minutes.