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.
"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)