By Laila Kearney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two toddlers were killed on Wednesday when a boiler exploded in a New York City homeless shelter, police said.
The incident, which is under investigation by law enforcement officials, comes at a time of record levels of homelessness in America's biggest city, pushing a soaring number of children into the shelter system, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said.
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"We've lost two more of our youngest, most vulnerable New Yorkers," Stringer, whose department has investigated the city's Department of Homeless Services, said in a statement.
The explosion in the six-story building housing the shelter in the Bronx occurred just after midday, police said. They said the victims, girls aged just 1- and 2-years-old, were pronounced dead shortly after being rushed to local hospitals.
In investigation findings released in October, Stringer said city shelters provided early-age childcare centers that failed to meet safety standards or ensure employees underwent criminal background checks.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Tom Brown)