Brazil nursery arson attack: Four toddlers burnt alive

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Four other children and a teacher died on Thursday when a guard doused the "Innocent People" day care center in Janauba with alcohol and set it alight.

A security guard in province of Minas Gerais, Brazil, has lost five lives as a result of an attack on a flammable substance.

The fire was started by a security guard working at the facility, according to Brazilian state news agency, who allegedly set the facility ablaze before torching himself.

"He has been an employee since 2008 and has never had a bad record so we could never have anticipated something of this nature happening", Mayor of Janauba, Carlos Isaildon Mendes, told the media. The guard, who was aged about 50 and identified as Damiao Soares, died in the hospital several hours after the incident, which left him with burns all over his body, Santos said.

The local Frangipani Regional Hospital has reported that 40 people including children and adults are being treated for a range of burns, breathing difficulties and injuries.

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The motive is yet to be confirmed by investigators.

Police rescue helicopters are on the scene as they ferry people to hospital.

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". "I want to express my solidarity with the families".

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