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Fashion industry ad exec Madonna Badger‘s Stamford, Connecticut home caught fire in the early hours of Dec. 25 killing her three daughters and parents.
Badger, who is the founder of NYC-based Badger & Winters Group, was able to escape the blaze along with Michael Borcina – a contractor doing work on the home – Christmas Morning, the New York Times reports.
But, her three daughters with husband, Matthew Badger (who she had begun divorce proceedings with, and was in NYC at the time), Lily , 9 and twins, Grace and Sarah, 7, along with her parents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, who lived in Southbury, CT, both died in the fire, Stamford Police Sgt. Paul Guzda told the Associated Press. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
“We heard this screaming at 5 in the morning,” the Badger’s neighbor, Sam Cingari Jr. said. “The whole house was ablaze and I mean ablaze.”
Firefighters were not able to get into the house to rescue the trapped people because the flames were too large and the heat too intense Acting Fire Chief Antonio Conte told reporters.
“It’s never easy. That’s for sure,” he said. “I’ve been on this job 38 years … not an easy day.”
Badger was treated and released from Stamford Hospital on Sunday. Borcina was taken to the same hospital and was in stable condition Monday, according to the Times.
The five-bedrom waterfront house, located in Shippan Point, an affluent neighborhood on Long Island Sound, was purchased last year for $1.725 million.
Badger’s ad company, which she founded in 1994, has worked with Proctor & Gamble, CoverGirl, A/X Armani Exchange, Emanuel Ungaro and Vera Wang. She is also credited with conceiving the now-iconic Mark Wahlberg (then Marky Mark) and Kate Moss underwear ads for Calvin Klein when working at their in-house advertising agency CRK. She also worked for Esquire magazine for a time.
On Christmas eve, Lomer Johnson had fulfilled a lifelong dream, playing Santa at Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in NYC.
All that day, Pauline updated the family on her husband’s activities at Saks, a family member told the Times. “At one point she called to report that her husband was ‘inside doing his last gig,’ the family member said. ‘She meant for the season. She had no idea.’”
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