Mom Tried to Save Daughters From Fire

The children and parents of a well-known advertising executive were killed.

Bulldozers tore down the Stamford house Monday that was the site of an unimaginable tragedy Christmas morning.

The house at 2267 Shippan Avenue went up in flames Sunday, killing the three children and parents of a well-known advertising executive.

Madonna Badger, managed to escape the flames that engulfed her home Christmas morning. A male friend also survived the fire, but Badger's three daughters, aged 10 and 7-year-old twins died, along with her parents, who were visiting from Southbury for the holiday.

Badger had to be rescued from the roof of the home.  She had apparently crawled out of her bedroom window and tried getting into her daughters' room to save them, but the flames quickly engulfed the house and it was too late, according to Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia.

Badger was released from Stamford Hospital Sunday night.  The friend, Michael David Borcina, a contractor who was staying at the house, remained hospitalized in stable condition Monday.

Fire crews were called to 2267 Shippan Avenue shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday, buy the flames were to intense to get inside, according to fire officials.

"We made rescue attempts. We just couldn't get to them," Fire Chief Antonio Conte said. "There was so much flames and heat, it drove firefighters back. I've been on the job 38 years and it's not an easy day," he said while fighting back tears.

Video shot by Charles Mangano, a neighbor, showed flames shooting from the house.


Investigators are trying to determine if the house, which was undergoing renovations, had working smoke detectors at the time of the fire.

Word of the tragedy shook the neighborhood and others in Stamford.

"There has probably not been a worse Christmas Day in the City of Stamford,"  Pavia said.

Though officials have not officially released the names of the victims, a relative said Badger's daughters, Lily, 10, and her 7-year-old twins, Grace and Sarah, were killed, according to the New York Times. The paper identified the two adults who died as Badger's parents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson. The couple would have celebrated their 49th anniversary Monday, according to the Times.

Lomer Johnson worked as a Santa this season a the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York City.

"Mr. Johnson was Saks Fifth Avenue's beloved Santa, and we are heartbroken about this terrible tragedy," spokeswoman Julia Bently said.

Badger founded her own advertising company, Badger & Winters Group, but in the early 1990s worked for Calvin Klein and helped develop the advertising campaign using Mark Wahlberg modeling the company's underwear.

Neighbors said Badger moved into the home about a year ago.  Badger and her husband, the father of the three children who were killed,  were separated, police said.

Fire officials said it could be several days before they can determine the cause of the fire.

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