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Four toddlers killed after being set alight at day care centre

Four toddlers killed after being set alight at day care centre

Officials say a security guard at a day care center in southeastern Brazil doused children with alcohol and then set it alight, killing at least four children and injuring 20. It was also revealed that he was sacked from his position in September.

Damiao was present at the day care outside of his working hours and said to carry a pink backpack containing flammable liquid, possibly alcohol or gasoline, which he used to set fire to the victims and himself.

Harrowing footage from the scene appears to show distraught parents crowded outside the school in the hope of finding out what has happened to their children.

In addition to the seven children also died the teacher and the guard.

Forty people overall are being treated for burns, injuries and breathing difficulties, local media reported. The dead children were aged four.

Local police chief Bruno Fernandes Barbosa told the G1 news portal that the teacher, 43-year-old Helley Abreu Batista, grappled with the guard "in an attempt to save the children".

Some of the patients may still need to be airlifted to a specialised burns unit in the state capital, Belo Horizonte.

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.

Brazil's President Michel Temer expressed his condolences via Twitter.

Minas Gerais Governor Fernando Pimentel visited the victims and relatives of those affected by the tragedy and reiterated the government's commitment "to help in what is possible".

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