Official: Malaysia fire victims were to move out

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The principal of a private Malaysian Islamic school says a dormitory razed by fire was being used as a temporary boarding house because the main school building was under renovation.

Mohamad Zahid Mahmod told the Berita Harian online newspaper on Thursday that the renovation work took a year and the students were due to move back into the main building at the end of this month.

He said the students would have been preparing for their dawn prayers at the time of the fire. Officials say 23 people were killed.

Mohamad Zahid said the school has been operating for 15 years and is registered with the state Islamic religious council. He said it housed 42 students, six teachers and two wardens.

An official with the state religious council, however, said it has no record of the school.

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