Police say Yeng Moua admitted to leaving the boy home by himself during the overnight hours of January 3 while she gambled.
While Moua was gone officers were dispatched to her home on the 3400 block of Penn Avenue North on a report of a fire. When they arrived they found a little boy covered with soot staying with a downstairs neighbor.
The neighbor said he heard fire alarms going off in the upstairs apartment and went up to investigate. He knocked on the door and the child answered, revealing a curtain of thick smoke and a fire in the kitchen area.
After unsuccessfully trying to put the flames down with a bucket of water and a towel, the man took the boy downstairs and called police.
When police found her Moua allegedly admitted her four children alone, even though she knew three of the kids would be going to school and the four-year-old would be left alone.
The toddler, who has a known history of starting fires, suffered serious burns on his nose.