2-year-old found dead after Monroe St. fire

Firefighters found a 2-year-old girl's body inside a Bedford-Stuyvesant home that caught fire early Tuesday morning.



Police say they are questioning the girl's 20-year-old mother, Leila Aquino, about why the child was alone in the Monroe Street home when it burst into flames around 6:30 a.m.



The mother says she'd left the baby with a caregiver, according to investigators, but firefighters who responded to the scene say they didn't see any such person. They also say they had no idea there was a child in the building until the mother arrived three hours later.



Firefighters then found the little girl's body under a bed in the apartment.



Authorities have identified the 2-year-old as Kaleenah Muldrow, who attended a day care center nearby.



Kaleenah's grandfather owns the building and thought he was the only person inside at the time of the fire, according to Mike Sorens, a neighbor and family friend.



"He thought they were gone," Sorens says. "He didn't know anyone else was in the building."



Amari Smith, who lives nearby, says he heard an explosion before the fire. Officials have not yet released a cause of the blaze.


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