Mexico police arrest official in day care fire

Federal police arrested a former government official Tuesday on homicide and abuse of authority charges tied to a day care center fire that killed 49 babies and toddlers nearly two years ago in northern Mexico.

Arturo Leyva Lizarraga, former Sonora state delegate for the Mexican Social Security Institute, was detained in Guadalajara and flown to Hermosillo, where the fire happened. The city is 175 miles south of Nogales, Arizona.

Social security officials had contracted out child services to the privately run ABC day care center, which burned when a fire spread from a neighboring warehouse.

Although agency officials have said the center passed a safety inspection, social security director Daniel Karam asked Leyva to step down after the June 5, 2009, fire.

Prosecutors did not specify the basis for charging Leyva, but investigators have previously said that public officials may have ignored fire hazards while allowing the day care to operate.

The center caught fire after an air-conditioning system overheated next door at a warehouse used by the Sonora state government. The blaze spread to the roof of the day care center, melting pieces of tarp that fell on children.

In addition to the dead, 70 children were injured