A Connecticut woman whose former boyfriend accused her of leaving fireplace ashes in the mudroom of their Stamford home before a 2011 fire killed her three young children and parents told NBC's "Today" show she feels sorry for him.
Madonna Badger's then-boyfriend, Michael Borcina, for years told investigators he had moved the bag of ashes into the mudroom before the deadly Christmas Day fire. Badger and Borcina escaped, but Badger's 7-year-old twins, 9-year-old daughter and parents were killed.
"It's impossible to describe how it is that you can't go in and save your own children, but I couldn't," Badger told "Today" through tears in 2012.
The blaze prompted a string of legal fights, and in a recent lawsuit deposition, Borcina reversed course and pointed the finger at Badger, saying she had moved the ashes and he had lied to protect her, the Hartford Courant reported.
According to court paperwork obtained by the Courant, Borcina said he had taken responsibility to "spare [Badger] from carrying the burden that maybe she had done something to hurt her family."
Badger responded to Borcina's claims in a statement to the "Today" show Tuesday morning, saying, "I feel sorry for him. I feel incredibly sad for him."
She declined to comment further, citing pending litigation. Both Badger and the father of her children have outstanding lawsuits against the city of Stamford. Borcina previously agreed to pay $5 million to settle a separate suit filed by the children's father.
Badger told "Today" in 2012 she believed the fire was sparked by an electrical problem at the $1.7 million house, which was under renovation. She said she did not blame Borcina, a contractor working on the home.
"I don't believe that his actions cause the fire. So I don't believe that Mike is responsible for starting the fire," Badger said. She later wondered, "How is it that you have a little bit of ashes causing this enormous fire that spreads so quickly?"
Borcina's attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the deposition.