SAO PAULO — The death toll from a day care center fire in southeastern Brazil rose to nine on Friday as two 4-year-old girls died of burns while being treated in a hospital.

A firefighter in the city of Janauba in the state of Minas Gerais said by telephone that Cecilia Davina Goncalves Dias and Yasmin Medeiros Salvino died Friday afternoon due to burns that covered most of their bodies.

He said that 4-year-old Renan Nicolas Santos died Thursday night due to burns that covered 90 percent of his body.

The firefighter declined to give his name.

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. The guard, who had helped with security at the center since 2008, died hours later in a local hospital.

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.”

Her conduct was heroic,” he said. “She was there to protect all those children.”

Janauba Mayor Carlos Isaildon Mendes has declared a seven-day mourning period.

Author photo
STAN LEHMAN
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.