SHAH ALAM: The hostel of a tahfiz school in Kampung Bukit Lanchung, here, was destroyed in an 8pm blaze on Sunday.
Student Muhammad Farhan Muzabfar, 14, said there were 13 students in the school premises reciting the Quran when they realised that their hostel, located on the second floor, was on fire.
"We were reciting the Quran after Maghrib prayer when one of us went to the restroom. He noticed a strange smell and saw a bright light coming from upstairs.
"He alerted the others in the classroom, including our teacher, before several of us went to check and found out that the hostel was on fire.
"Our ustaz immediately ordered all of us to get to safety and called the authorities," he said.
Ihya Ul-Quran Tahfiz Academy warden Mohd Khairul Ni'mat Doll Kawaid said the fire may have been sparked from an even earlier incident. That afternoon, a pillow at the hostel caught fire, believed to be from a burning mosquito coil.
He said several students alerted him to the incident before they conducted cleaning works to ensure that it did not spread.
"The students sprayed the pillow and area around it with water before cleaning up the whole hostel.
"However, it is possible that embers from the pillow had affected other spots. Between noon and 8pm, we certainly did not notice any smoke or any other signs of a fire," he said.
Ni'mat said they were relieved that no one was harmed in the incident.
Asked about safety procedures at the school, he said they were among the thousands of tahfiz schools nationwide that had been visited by the Fire and Rescue Department following last month's blaze which gutted another tahfiz school in Keramat, Kuala Lumpur and killed 23 people.
Ni'mat said the school has prepared fire extinguishers and renovated its emergency staircase according to the department's recommendation.
However, during the incident, the students did not attempt to fight the blaze as all of them were already on the ground floor and managed to escape quickly.
Meanwhile, Selangor Fire and Rescue Department assistant director of operations Mohd Sani Harul said they dispatched 14 firemen with two fire engines and an ambulance to the scene upon receiving the alert at 8.28pm.
He said firemen managed to control the blaze from spreading to other areas of the school.
Sani said at least 20 per cent of the hostel, about 83 sq m in size, was completely destroyed.