PETALING JAYA: Authorities have discovered new leads in their investigations that may lead towards the possibility of foul play in the fire at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school which left 23 dead.
According to a report in the New Straits Times (NST), sources close to the police and the Fire and Rescue Department investigations said closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage obtained from buildings nearby the school had led them to believe that the fire was an arson case.
“From an initial probe, we suspected that the fire involved elements of foul play. This theory was backed by a new lead after authorities reviewed the CCTV recordings,” the NST quoted a high-ranking source with knowledge of the ongoing probe.
The source said CCTV cameras at the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia office beside the school had captured what could be footage of a possible intrusion into the school about two hours before the blaze.
“The footage showed a person, who looked like he was in his teens, sneaking into the tahfiz school at about 3am.”
Another source said investigators had found traces of petrol in front of the door to the dormitory, where the victims had been trapped.
On Thursday, after the fire had been put out, investigators found two cylinders, which did not belong to the school, near the door.
A warden of the school who survived the fire had said that during routine checks before bedtime at 11pm on Wednesday night, he did not see the gas cylinders near the door.
On Thursday, Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department director Khirudin Drahman said short circuit had been ruled out as a cause of the incident.
“Forensic findings and the Energy Commission confirmed that the electrical circuit and the school building’s main switch were in good condition,” he said.
He said based on information from the victims who were saved, the fire started from outside the door of the hostel, trapping them.
Khirudin said the department believed there were other “elements” from outside the building which caused the fire and a thorough investigation was being carried out.
Meanwhile, the source said police was also investigating a lead on a fight between students as a possible motive.
When asked about this, Wangsa Maju police chief Superintendent Roy Suhaimi Sarif said police were investigating all angles and would record statements from all students and teachers before drawing any conclusion.
It is understood that a student of the school had been detained to facilitate investigations.
Meanwhile, The Star today reported that police had called in an individual to facilitate investigations into the fire at the religious school.
“Yes, I confirm that we called one man in to help with our investigation,” The Star quoted Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun as saying.
Fuzi said so far only one individual had been called in but declined to say whether the person was attached to the school.
“This is just to allow for investigations. So far, we are still not sure (if there were criminal elements),” he was quoted as saying.
The IGP said police would keep the media updated from time to time.