School fire: Mischief suspected as traces of chemical found
Fire and Rescue Department director says evidence and witness testimonies have ruled out the initial theory that the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit.
PETALING JAYA: The fire department is now investigating the possibility that the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school fire, which resulted in the deaths of 24 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 after reviewing the evidence obtained and witness testimonies.
âAfter 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.
âThe dogs also sn iffed out traces of chemicals around the area, which we have sent to our lab,â he told FMT.
Khirudin added that those who survived the tragedy told authorities they were unable to leave the dormitory through the door.
âThere were two cooking gas cylinders in front of the dormitoryâs door,â he said.
âThe cylinders should have been placed in the kitchen downstairs, on the ground floor.â
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.
âWe have to wait until the lab test is done, and weâll pass the resu lts to the police for them to investigate.
âBecause if the fire was caused by mischief, then it would be considered a crime which falls under the policeâs jurisdiction.
âBut we want to solve this as fast as possible, because everyone wants to know what caused the fire,â he said.
According to AFP, 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.
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Source: Google News