PUTRAJAYA, Sept 21 – The Fire and Rescue Department found traces of petrol splashed on the walls and furniture inside the building of the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school.
Its director-general Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim said the department had suspected that the fire had been set intentionally, on Sept 14, the day of the incident itself.
“Witnesses and the students who survived the fire said it started from the entrance to the school’s dormitory which is on the third floor.
“Their statements were supported by traces of petrol we found on the walls around the dormitory, its door, shoes and towel racks.
“We also found two Liquid Petroleum Gas (LP cylinders in front of the dormitory’s entrance. The fire spread fast because of LPG released by both cylinders,” he said at a press conference here today.
He said as the fire spread quickly, students trapped in the dormitory didn’t have a chance to save themselves.
He said there was plenty of “fire load” in the dormitory that heightened the heat which killed the students – who, he said, were sleeping at the time – shortly after the fire started.
“Based on these findings, we have concluded that the fire was caused on purpose,” said Wan Mohd.
The fire, suspected to have been caused by seven teenagers aged 11 to 18, killed 23 people. Twenty-one were students while the other two were teachers at the school.
Meanwhile, Wan Mohd said the fire department, immediately after the incident, managed to rescue five families who were living inside the school warden’s room.
But the fire personnel didn’t hear the dying students’ voices when they were there. It was only after they had successfully entered the dormitory did they find the students – who were already dead by then.
The blaze broke out at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school, located on Jalan Keramat Ujung, just before dawn last Thursday.
Firefighters rushed to the scene and the blaze was put out within an hour but not before it wreaked terrible devastation.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Amar Singh at a press conference last weekend, said the seven arrested boys had set the school on fire because they had been mocked by its students.
Six of the suspects had tested positive for drugs. They were arrested on Friday night after the police obtained CCTV footage from a neighbouring building.