SHAH ALAM - The hostel of an Islamic school in the Malaysian city of Shah Alam was destroyed in a blaze on Sunday (Oct 22), in the latest case of fire incidents involving such schools in the country, Malaysian media reported.
The hostel, which is located on the second floor of the Ihya Ul-Quran Tahfiz Academy, in Kampung Bukit Lanchung caught fire at about 8pm on Sunday.
Selangor Fire and Rescue assistant director of operations Mohd Sani Harul said 14 personnel in two fire trucks rushed to the school following a distress call at 8.30pm, and fully extinguished the blaze after one hour, Bernama reported.
He said three victims sustained injuries in the fire which razed 20 per cent of the 90 sq ft space located on the second floor of the three-storey building. The cause is being investigated.
Thirteen students were at the school's premises at the time attending a Quran recital after doing their prayers when one of them noticed the fire, the New Straits Times reported.
"We were reciting the Quran after Maghrib (sunset) prayers when one of us went to the restroom. He noticed a strange smell and saw a bright light coming from upstairs," student Muhammad Farhan Muzabfar told the paper.
"He alerted the others in the classroom, including our teacher, before several of us went to check and found out that the hostel was on fire. Our ustaz immediately ordered all of us to get to safety and called the authorities," he was quoted saying.
The school's warden, Mohd Khairul Ni'mat Doll Kawaid, said the fire could have been caused by a pillow that was believed to have caught fire from a burning mosquito coil earlier in the day.
He said students had alerted him to the incident and the pillow and the area around it had been cleaned up, although it was possible that embers from the pillow could have spread to other areas.
He added that the school had been one of the thousands visited by the Fire and Rescue Department after last month's religious school in Kuala Lumpur which killed 23 people.
He said the school had already taken fire prevention measures, including preparing extinguishers and renovating its emergency staircase in accordance with the department's recommendation.