Teacher who died saving kids in Brazil fire given award
Brazil’s President Michel Temer on Sunday honored a nursery school teacher who died while rescuing children from a blaze set deliberately by a security guard, killing nine people.
Temer posthumously awarded the National Order of Merit to Heley de Abreu Silva Batista, who “gave her own life to save the lives of her students,” the presidency said in a statement.
Batista, 43, worked at the nursery school in Janauba, a small town about 370 miles (600 km) from the state capital of Minas Gerais.
Last Thursday, the security guard, who authorities say suffered mental problems, entered and sprayed students with flammable alcohol before setting fire to the building.
The teacher and eight children died, as did the guard. Another 40 people were treated in hospital.
Batista reportedly struggled with the guard and helped evacuate children. “It was a gesture of courage and heroism that touched everyone,” Temer said.
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