Security guard sets nursery on fire, kills 5 toddlers

Five toddlers burned alive in arson attack on nursery

Five toddlers burned alive in arson attack on nursery

The guard sprayed them with alcohol before setting them on fire, according to one news account. He died in hospital of his wounds.

Military police said the man also set himself alight at the building in Janauba, Minas Gerais state.

Janauba's mayor decreed seven days of mourning.

The attack which also injured 50 others has sent shockwaves throughout the country and indeed the world as all of the children killed in the attack were aged four. 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.

Police said Damião Soares dos Santos, 50, set the fire in the rural town of Janauba in Minas Gerais state. "I woke him up early to bring him here and when I saw him again he was dead in the hospital", said Jane Kelly of her dead son Juan Miguel Soares.

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Although the motive behind this atrocious attack still remains unclear, police superintendent, Renato Nunes, told Hoje em Dia newspaper that the guard had had mental health problems since 2014 and often sought the prosecutor's office to denounce his own mother.

The guard had worked for at least eight years at the nursery school where he was not directly in contact with the children.

"I want to express my sympathy to the families", he said in a tweet, calling the deaths a "very painful loss".

Brazilian President Michel Temer called the incident a tragedy.

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