A blazing Christmas morning inferno took the lives of an advertising executive's Victorian home along the Connecticut shoreline, killing her three children and her parents.
Madonna Badger and a contractor who was doing work on the home were able to escape from the house as it was engulfed by flames on Christmas morning. Killed in the fire were Badger’s father, Lomer Johnson, 71, and mother, along with her daughters, Lily, 9, and twins Sarah and Grace, 7.
Neighbors said they awoke to the sound of screaming shortly before 5 a.m. and rushed outside to help, but they could only watch in horror as flames devoured the grand home and the shocked, injured survivors were led away from the house.
Badger, an ad executive in the fashion industry, is the founder of New York City-based Badger & Winters Group. A supervisor at Stamford Hospital said she was treated and discharged by Sunday evening.
"It is a terrible, terrible day," Mayor Michael Pavia told reporters at the scene of the fire. "There probably has not been a worse Christmas day in the city of Stamford."
In 1996, Forbes magazine named Badger one of their “Forty Under Forty.” She founded Badger & Winters Group, a fashion consulting firm with clients including Armani Exchange, Chanel and Calvin Klein.
Firefighters could not get to the other people engulfed in the flames because it was too much fire said Acting Fire Chief Antonio Conte.
"It's never easy. That's for sure," he said. "I've been on this job 38 years ... not an easy day."
Conte said fire officials don't yet know the cause of the blaze and likely would not get clues for a few days until fire marshals can enter the structure and examine it.
This is yet another sad Christmas story that has a community shedding tears.