Fire Dept confirms tahfiz school fire due to arson (Updated)

PUTRAJAYA: The Fire and Rescue Department has today confirmed that the deadly fire at a tahfiz school, which killed 23 people, was due to arson.

Its director-general Datuk Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim said investigation had found out traces of petrol were found splashed on towel tack, shoe rack and the wall in front of the dormitory’s door.

The fire spread even faster due to the presence of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) intentionally released from the two gas cylinders that were found in front of the door, he said.

“Based on the findings, the source was due to incendiary fire,” Wan Mohd told a press conference at the department's headquarters.

The fire that broke out in the early hours of Sept 13 at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah school in Keramat resulted in the deaths of 24 people.

The government had established a special task force to probe the tragedy, as well as setting better guidelines for the operation of tahfiz schools nationwide.

Mohd Nor said the two gas cylinders were found to be emptied, with the valve in an open position.

He added the samples gathered by the department's K9 unit at the scene was then submitted to the fire investigation laboratory in Kuala Lumpur.

"It was found out that the samples contained the residue of flammable liquid of petrol," he said.

He added the department found out several fire effects in front of the dormitory's door, which strengthen the evidence on the location of fire.

The tragedy was the second major fire involving tahfiz school in Malaysia after a 1989 incident in Kedah which had claimed the lives of 27 students.