A fire broke out in President-elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide's shelter housing hundreds of homeless children, and four boys were killed, the independent Radio Haiti-Inter reported Saturday.

The cause of the fire was unknown, but some children said they had smelled gasoline and heard an explosion before the blaze Friday night.Aristide called the fire a criminal act.

"They aimed at my heart. My heart will not become hard. The reign of the Macoutes is over," a tearful Aristide told Radio Antilles during a visit to the shelter Saturday.

Aristide was referring to the dreaded Tonton Macoutes militia that backed the former Duvalier dictatorship.