The Christmas Day fire that killed Madonna Badger's three children and their grandparents was not the result of foul play, the mayor of Stamford, Conn. said.
Though investigators were expected to reveal the cause of the Connecticut house fire later today, but Mayor Michael Pavia told AP that the cause was fireplace-related, declining to give any more details.
The preliminary information is it was just a tragic accident, he said. The mayor reported that foul play in the deaths of much of Madonna Badger's family had been ruled out.
'Please come quickly.'
Neighbors said they woke up to Badger and her family screaming shortly after 5 am on Christmas Day, breaking the quiet of the small Connecticut town. They rushed outside, but could do nothing but send frantic 911 calls as they watched the flames devour Madonna Badger's home.
There's a huge fire at the house next door to us, an anguished neighbor told the 911 operator. The whole house is on fire. There's a woman and three kids ... It's the house next door, a major fire, and there's three kids and a woman.
After her call cuts off, the woman redialed: Please come quickly.
Deputy fire chief Bill Smith told WCBS that a rescue team arrived as quick as they could. It was too late.
Our engine crews had to take them from the roof so we could start rescue operations, he said. Our crews made it into the building and we searched, but unfortunately the people were not where we thought they were going to be.
Badger Spared Details
Madonna Badger, a well-known marketing executive, has been spared the horrific details of the house fire that killed both her parents and her three daughters.: Lily, 10, and twins Sarah and Grace, 7.
Badger, 47, who escaped the 4:50 am fire with boyfriend Michael Borcino, reportedly tried desparately to get back into the three-story Victorian house to save her children and their grandparents, but was unable to combat the raging fire, which appeared to have been started by leftover ashes fom a Yule log.
According the The Daily News, Madonna Badger has been spared many of the details surrounding the Connecticut house fire, though online news sources are sure to reveal the truth to her eventually.
Relatives have not told her that her father died trying to save one of his granddaughters, or that their bodies were found inches apart on either side of an open window of the devastated house, with grandfather Lomer Johnson on the porch outside.
'I don't think I even understand the depth of that pain.'
But for Madonna Badger, not knowing may almost be worse.
[She is] as devastated as you could imagine, brother Wade Johnson said Tuesday. Like any mother and child would be.
Neighbors, meanwhile, are struggling to cope with the tragedy that has fallen on their small Connecticut community. They also struggle to imagine the pain Badger must feel after having lost to her family to an accidental house fire, especially one on Christmas Day, likely the result of a Yule log bought for her three children.
I can't imagine waking up one day and having my children and my parents dead in one swoop like that, Stamford resident Tom Olson said. I don't think I even understand the depth of that pain.
No funeral arrangements have been announced for the Connecticut family. Johnson did say that his father Lomer Johnson and his mother Pauline would be buried in Newfoundland, Canada.