The devil made him do it.
An illegal immigrant who allegedly set the Brooklyn fire that killed five neighbors told cops the demons in his head led him to torch the crowded building, sources said yesterday.
"He confessed to the arson," a police source said. "He didn't indicate any rational motive."
Daniel Ignacio, 27, a Guatemalan national, was charged yesterday with murder and arson. He was ordered held without bail at his arraignment last night.
Ignacio told cops that evil spirits led him to set off the blaze early Saturday in his Bensonhurst building, filled with deeply religious tenants.
"The demons made me do it," he said, according to a police source.
Ignacio also said he was drunk at the time and that he does "stupid things" when he drinks.
'FIEND' LIVED ON VICTIMS' CHARITY
He whined to cops that he had fallen into a deep depression in recent weeks — ashamed about making a paltry $8 an hour as a day laborer and heartbroken he lived so far from his family.
Ignacio, who was deported seven years ago but managed to sneak back into the United States, tried to paint himself in a better light when he was walked from the 62nd Precinct.
"I'm not a monster!" he shouted in Spanish to reporters. "I have compassion!"
Ignacio told cops he used paint thinner to set a roll of toilet paper afire with a cigarette lighter in a baby carriage sitting in a hallway near the stairwell, police said.
After setting the blaze, he went upstairs to sleep off his drunken stupor. Flames quickly erupted near the building's front door, cutting off the building's main exit and blocking firefighters from getting upstairs.
Residents awakened to the roaring blaze, which ate through the staircase and collapsed a floor.
Five people perished, including a frantic mother who, with her husband's help, managed to get their two children out of the burning building.
Cops said that when Ignacio realized what he had done, he helped in the dramatic rescue of one of the kids, a 2-year-old boy.
Ignacio, a second-floor tenant, was inside the building as the fire spread. As smoke and flames swept through the structure, he grabbed the boy, Josias Chan, from his parents and safely handed him off to firefighters at a second-floor window. Ignacio then climbed down an FDNY ladder to safety.
Danielle Eaddy, a lawyer who represented Ignacio at the arraignment, praised his client's efforts in rescuing the child. "There are some holes in this case to say the least," she said outside court.
In the days after the fire, survivors, including the boy's widowed father, Miguel Chan, heaped praise on Ignacio.
But Ignacio quickly went from hero to hellion when surveillance video surfaced showing him leaving the 86th Street building, then returning shortly before the fire started.
Chan "feels very betrayed," said the Rev. Erick Salgado, pastor of the Jovenes Cristianos Church, where many of the tenants worship.
"The devil's always going to tell you to do so many things, but you are responsible to choose what to do and what not to do.
"I thanked [Ignacio] for saving Josias. Now I can't believe he's the one who was charged."
Chan's wife, Luisa Ordoñez, 33, died in her husband's arms. Their baby girl remains at a Queens children's hospital with a fractured skull.
Four other people, including Juan Barreno, 28, a construction worker from Guatemala, also died in the blaze.
"Anytime someone starts a fire in a stairwell, it's a deadly fire," an investigator told The Post. "It's the worst you can get. A fire [that starts in an apartment] isn't half as bad."
Cops said Ignacio has at least one prior arrest, for burglary, and was deported back to his native Guatemala in 2003. He sneaked back into the United States a short time later, officials said.
Residents said he moved in two months ago after showing up one day looking for a place to live.
Chan has retained a lawyer for a possible suit. The attorney, Ben Rubinowitz, said Chan wants to know if anyone else can be held responsible for his wife's death.
Officials from the Fire and Buildings departments are continuing to investigate if there were any other contributing factors, such as illegal subdivision, that would have made it more difficult for firefighters to navigate.