KAPAR: Less than one month after the deadly Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz inferno in Kuala Lumpur, and less than two weeks after the Sekolah Tinggi Islam As-Sofa blaze in Rembau, another tahfiz school in the country has been gutted by fire.
The first-floor male dormitory of the Nur Al-Quran Learning and Tahfiz Centre at Jalan Pengkalan Rantau Panjang here was razed by a large conflagration at 2.30pm today.
There was no casualty in the incident, as all 25 of the tahfiz’s students, aged between 10 and 19, were in an Al-Quran recital class on the ground floor when the fire broke out.
It is believed that the blaze began in the middle portion of the 150-square meter dormitory, which has four rooms. From there, it spread and grew in intensity to envelop the entire floor.
Sungai Pinang Fire and Rescue Department chief Zaidi Ahtan said a team of 26 firefighters from the Sungai Pinang, Kota Raja and Kapar stations who were rushed to the scene managed to douse the flames in 20 minutes.
"We are investigating the cause of this incident," Zaidi said, adding that the ground floor of the school was unaffected.
Student Ahmad Sudais Noor Azmi said he smelt smoke while in class, and thought there was rubbish burning nearby.
The 16-year-old said that once he and several classmates realised what was happening, they tried to douse the fire with the help of several neighbours – but it was too big.
"The fire had destroyed our cupboards and our mattresses. When we failed to put out the fire, we immediately ran downstairs and out of the building to save ourselves.
"Some of our neighbours assisted in removing gas cylinders from the kitchen. I am glad that none of us were upstairs when the fire happened," he added.
Kapar Umno division chief Datuk Faizal Abdullah said assistance will be rendered to the students, who were left with just the clothes on their backs.
"We will mobilise the Youth and Women's wings to bring the students on a shopping trip to buy essential items as well as clothing," he said at the scene.
Faizal, who is also the political secretary to Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government minister, said a total of 284 tahfiz schools registered with the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) have been listed to be checked by the state Fire and Rescue Department to ensure that safety requirements are adhered to.
"So far, 149 have been checked and there are 135 more premises to go by Wednesday. The department conducts safety audits in accordance to the list of tahfiz schools furnished by Jais. But we call on the public to also let us know if they know of any other tahfiz school in their community which may be not registered," said Faizal.
Meanwhile, Selangor Fire and Rescue Department Klang Zone chief Samsol Maarif Saibani said the Nur Al-Quran Learning and Tahfiz Centre would have failed the safety audit check if one was conducted.
"There are several safety aspects undertaken by the school that does not meet the basic requirements. The emergency exit door is not up to specifications and the emergency staircase mounted outside the building is unsuitable. There are also no exit signs in the dormitory.
"I have also noticed that there are also several sliding windows with grilles which are sealed shut, which should not be the way. My observation also showed that the dormitory is overcrowded, with 15 double decker beds placed in it, which makes it slightly congested," said Samsol.