Tahfiz school fire: Mischief now suspected

 |Sep 15, 2017

PETALING JAYA: The fire department is now probing the possibility that the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school fire was due to an act of mischief.

Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department director Khirudin Drahman debunked the initial theory that it was caused by an electrical short circuit

Free Malaysia Today reported the short circuit theory had been ruled out after the department reviewed the evidence obtained and witness testimonies.

“After 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.

“The dogs also sniffed out traces of chemicals around the area, which we have sent to our lab,” he told FMT.

He said survivors of the tragedy told authorities they were unable to leave the dormitory through the door.

“There were two cooking gas cylinders in front of the dormitory’s door,” he told the English news portal.

“The cylinders should have been placed in the kitchen downstairs, on the ground floor.”

Yesterday morning, Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk 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 yesterday, 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.

“We have to wait until the lab test is done, and we’ll pass the results to the police for them to investigate.

“Because if the fire was caused by mischief, then it would be considered a crime which falls under the police’s jurisdiction.

“But we want to solve this as fast as possible, because everyone wants to know what caused the fire,” he said.

Last night, Bernama reported Khirudin saying the Energy Commission confirmed that the electricity circuit from the school building’s main switch was in good condition.

“We found that the fire had spread in a strange and unusual way, quickly and in a big way. Usually, if the cause is a short circuit, the main fuse box would ‘kick’ and it would take at least 30 minutes for the fire to spread.

The blaze broke out at the school, located on Jalan Keramat Ujung, just before dawn, killing 24 people, the majority of whom were students.