Four young children and their teacher died Thursday in southeastern Brazil after a nursery school security guard sprayed them with alcohol and set them on fire, officials said .
Others were injured as the blaze spread through the “Innocent People ” nursery in Janauba, in Minas Gerais state , early Thursday morning , before it was brought under control by firefighers , according to a statement from state prosecutors.
The guard was hospitalized in serious condition with burns all over his body , the statement said .
Witnesses told the online news site UOL that the man , in his fifties , had been working as a night watchman for eight years .
Minas Gerais police said officers went to the suspect ’s home and visited his relatives to try to understand the motive for the attack .
President Michel Temer expressed his condolences 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 .
As the father of a school -age child , Temer said he understood “this must be an extremely painful loss ” for the parents .
Janauba, a city of 70 ,000 , is located some 600 kilometers north of the city of Belo Horizonte.
The office of Janauba’s mayor decreed seven days of mourning .