Two Boys Set School on Fire
Two boys set school on fire in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia killing 21 children and two adults. The two 16-year olds set fire to Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz religious school and are being charged with the murders. In Malaysia, a murder charge carries an automatic death sentence. However, in cases involving juveniles, the maximum penalty is prison. The boys were also charged with drug-related offenses.
One Boy Still in Intensive Care
One 11-year-old boy, Mohammad Shahir, was inside the building when it was set on fire. Although he survived the blaze he is still in intensive care after suffering internal injuries including broken bones and burns to 20 percent of his body, according to CNN.
One witness, Shahirman Shahril told CNN, “I saw children kicking on the grill, but they couldn’t get out. My friends and I rushed over and tried to reach them but we couldn’t get in.” A number of the children seemed to be trapped by metal window grills. Many of the victims were found piled on top of each other. Others were found in front of the main door according to Soiman Jahid a spokesman for the fire and rescue department. One of two fire exits in the building had been blocked by renovations taking place on the second floor, Jahid reported to CNN.
The flames engulfed the school but the firemen also had to deal with the cries for help coming from inside. Jahid said, “The first team from (the) fire station managed to save five of the children from the lower level.” When emergency responders arrived, almost 90 percent of the building was already on fire according to a member of the fire and rescue department.
The building where the fire erupted was new and had been used as a religious school according to Deputy Inspector General of Police Noor Rashid Ibraham. However, the school’s license had been under review by authorities, and the facility should not have been in operation, said Noh Omar, Malaysia’s minister of urban well-being, housing and local government.