Fired nursery school guard kills six toddlers and their teacher by lighting them on fire

Alex Lasker,

Six toddlers and one nursery school teacher are dead after a fired security guard sprayed them with alcohol and set them ablaze in Brazil on Thursday, according to local media reports.

The disgruntled guard, identified as 50-year-old Damiao Soares dos Santos, lit himself on fire at the scene and later died from self-inflicted injuries.

Photos from the scene: 

Santos had worked at Gente Inocente, or "Innocent People," nursery school in the small town of Janauba for approximately eight years and had been suffering from mental health problems since 2014, according to the Telegraph.

Although police are still investigating the reason behind the attack, it is reported that Santos was dismissed from his position after returning from a period of leave last month.

On October 5, Santos handed in his medical certificate to school officials and then entered the classroom where he started the fire.

Victim Juan Miguel Soares Silva's mother told O Globo newspaper that she had considered enrolling her 4-year-old son in a different nursery school just days before the attack that claimed her young son's life. 

"We are about to move to a different neighborhood," Jane Kelly da Silva Soares said. "I woke up early to drop him at the nursery. When I saw him again he was already dead in hospital."

The BBC reports that at least 25 people, mostly children aged four and five, are currently being treated for burns in local hospitals.

Brazillian President Michael Temer tweeted to express his sympathy to the victims' families, writing, "I am deeply saddened by this tragedy involving children in Janauba, and I want to express my solidarity with the families."

The mayor of Janauba has declared a seven day mourning period to honor those who died.