Madonna Badger arrived at Saint Thomas Church on 5th Avenue Thursday morning to say her final goodbyes to her three daughters who were killed in the Connecticut Christmas fire a little over a week ago. She was accompanied by other mourners who came to pay their respects, filling the church well before the service began.
As the mourners filed into the church, they were given programs containing pictures of the three girls, the New York Times reports. Each photo featured the girls with a wide smile, and had their birth and death dates listed - Lilian Elizabeth Badger, August 29, 2002 - December 25, 2011, and the twins, Sarah Hudson Badger and Grace McCarthy Badger, October 15, 2004 - December 25, 2011. Three songs were played in the honor of the girls, Amazing Grace, This Little Light of Mine, and Over the Rainbow.
The three girls were killed, along with their grandparents, in the Connecticut Christmas fire that burnt down Madonna Badger's home in Stamford, Conn. Madonna and family friend Michael Borcina, were the only two to escape. Her parents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, were killed in the fire as well.
Borcina told fire officials that he had tried to flee with two of the girls, but that the girls may have panicked and ran back due to the smoke, the NY Times reported. One girl was found near a window of the home, and firefighters believe Lomer put her there to help her escape.
The fire is believed to have started when Borcina put embers from a fireplace into a bag, not knowing they were still smoldering.
A private wake was held on Wednesday at Frank E. Campbell funeral chapel, and a private service at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx was held after the funeral on Thursday.