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Preschoolers die after being set alight in Brazil

The children killed at the "Innocent People" nursery school were all under the age of five. Police are questioning the suspect's family to try and determine a motive for the killings.

Three medics push a small boy who appears to be unconscious on a stretcher.

Five children and their teacher were killed Thursday at their preschool in Brazil when a security guard set them alight. The children ranged in age from 1 to 4 years old.

The guard sprayed them with alcohol before setting them on fire, according to one news account.

Several others were injured as flames swept through the "Innocent People" nursery in the small city of Janauba, about 375 miles (600 km) east of the capital, Brasilia. Firefighters subsequently put out the blaze, according to a statement released by state prosecutors

The charred remains of the Innocent People preschool

The charred remains of the Innocent People preschool

The guard was also hospitalized in serious condition but he later died, bringing the death toll to seven. Local media said the 50-year-old man had worked at the school since 2008.

The attack took place in the state of Minas Gerais. State police said officers were visiting the suspect's family members to try and determine the motive behind the attack.

Brazilian President Michel Temer expressed his sympathies via Twitter.

"I am deeply saddened by this tragedy involving children in Janauba, and I want to express my solidarity with the families," Temer wrote.

Temer said he understood "this must be an extremely painful loss" for the parents, as he, too, is the father of a school-age child.

The mayor of Janauba - population 70,000 - declared seven days of mourning.

bik/sms (AFP, AP)

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