Four toddlers killed when set alight at Brazil day care center

Violet Powell
October 8, 2017

Reports revealed the security guard, identified as Damiao Soares dos Santos, 50, was mentally ill and had worked in the centre since 2008.

He also set himself on fire, police said.

He had been fired from the Gente Inocente day care center after he returned from leave last month with a medical condition. "But those who have been rescued, the children and the adults as well, we are very hopeful that all will survive", Pimentel told reporters at the scene.

The mayor of Janauba, a city of about 70,000 in Minas Gerais state, has declared seven days of mourning.

Forty people overall are being treated for burns, injuries and breathing difficulties, local media reported.

Among the hospitalised patients, 14 are children aged four to five.

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"Staff at the nursery said he poured the liquid over the children and set fire (to himself and to them)".

News portal G1, citing police sources, said a teacher had also died in the fire. Another fifty people were hospitalized with burns. With only 2 hospitals in the small town of 80,000 people, numerous more seriously hurt were taken by police helicopter to Minas Gerais' capital Belo Horizonte, more than 500 kilometers away.

Investigators are still trying to determine a motive for the brutal attack.

The attack took place in the state of Minas Gerais.

Brazilian president Michel Temer said he "lamented the tragedy immensely" and "expressed his solidarity with the families", in an official statement posted to Twitter.

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