'I could not go back and help my friends who were crying for help': Survivors recall deadly KL school blaze

Family members wait for news of their loved ones outside religious school Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah after a fire broke out in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sept 14, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (The Star/Asia News Network) - They could hear the cries for help but those lucky enough to get out of the religious school building that caught fire in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday (Sept 14) could do nothing for those trapped in it.

Mr Muhammad Danial Amru Al-Haz Ali said the raging fire was just too strong.

"I could not go back and help my friends who were crying for help," said the 16-year-old.

When the fire first started, he said, their room quickly filled with smoke.

He said many of them were still asleep while others were preparing for morning prayers.

They were the ones who noticed the fire first.

Mr Muhammad Danial was asleep when the fire started but woke up to see his friends frantically trying to find a way out.

"My friends who were near the door were not so lucky as the fire spread quickly," he said.

With a few others, Mr Muhammad Danial managed to break open the window and grille to get out.

"We then climbed down using the pipes to safety," he said.

Mr Azzarudin Roslan, who was among those who broke open the window grille, could not believe most of his friends perished in the fire.

Still visibly shaken, he remembers hearing the distinct hiss of a gas leak before realising the fire was near the door of the dormitory.

"Everyone was afraid and was rushing to find a way out," said the 15-year-old.

Mr Ustaz Mohd Arif Mawarty, 24, was asleep on the first floor when he heard a loud hissing sound coming from one of the rooms.

He said the noise was like a storm and he shouted for the other religious teachers staying on the floor to get out.

Mr Mohd Arif said the fire spread very fast and they didn't have enough water to fight the blaze.

"I tried to reach the top floor but the flames were too big. We felt helpless. There was nothing we could do," he said.

Mr Mohd Arif added that he found it strange there were gas cylinders placed on the top floor of the school.

"Usually, it's green gas cylinders used by the school but the ones placed on the top floor were yellow," he said.

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