New Orleans — A New Orleans woman was arrested after her twin 6-year-old daughters were overcome by smoke inhalation when she left them home alone at their Algiers apartment on Saturday.
Monrovia Brown, 24, was booked on two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child on Sunday by New Orleans police. Brown had her initial court hearing on those charges Monday in Orleans Parish Municipal Court.
Brown is accused of leaving her children at home while she went to work Saturday night. While unattended, the girls started a fire that left both of them hospitalized, and one of them remains in serious condition, according to Capt. Edwin Holmes, a spokesman for the New Orleans Fire Department.
Firefighters were called out to an apartment at 3008 Americus Street at about 9:45 p.m. after they received a report of smoke coming from the building. Holmes said the initial firefighters were told there might be people trapped inside, but they found the steel doors outside of the apartment locked.
Firefighters managed to force their way into the building and found the two girls unconscious, Holmes said. One child was lying in a bathroom, and the other child was hiding in a closet. After several attempts, firefighters managed to revive the girls and remove them from the home.
Firefighters extinguished the fire quickly, and damage was contained to a family room and the kitchen.
It appears the fire began in the kitchen and started after the girls were playing with matches and the stove, he said. One of the girls was trying to light incense when a blanket mistakenly caught on fire, and the girls didn’t know how to react, he said. Holmes noted the smoke alarm in the home was not working.
Holmes said Fire Superintendent Charles Parent not only is concerned that the children were left home alone, but that the smoke detector at the home was inoperable. If the smoke alarm had been working, neighbors might have noticed the fire earlier, and the two girls could have avoided injury.
He said the Fire Department wants everyone in the city to make sure their alarms are working properly.
“We have smoke alarms. We have batteries,” Holmes said.