The parents of Madonna Badger, whose Connecticut house was engulfed by fire on Christmas Day, would have celebrated their 49th anniversary on Monday, a family friend told The New York Times.
Badger's parent, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, lost their lives on Sunday when a fire destroyed the Stamford Victorian-style waterfront home. Badger, an advertising executive, also lost her three children -- a 10-year-old and 7-year-old twins -- in the horrific fire. Her parents were visiting for Christmas.
According to The Times, Lomer Johnson, 71, spent Saturday working as Santa Claus in Saks Fifth Avenue's flagship store in Manhattan. He reportedly held that gig since retiring as a safety director for Jack Daniel's parent company.
That's all he ever wanted to be, the family member told The Times. He stopped shaving the day he retired.
Authorities said they were called about the fire shortly before 5 a.m. on Sunday and tried to save the five who were trapped in the house.
Stamford Police Sgt. Paul Guzda said Madonna Badger and a male friend were able to escape the burning house.
Neighbors told the media they heard screams shortly before 5 a.m. and rushed outside to help. Unfortunately, they had to watch the house be consumed by flames.
Badger, the founder of New York City-based Badger & Winters Group, was treated and discharged from the Stamford Hospital on Sunday evening, MSNBC reported. Badger bought the five-bedroom home for $1.7 million last year.
The male friend has been identified by the The Stamford Advocate as Michael Borcina, a contractor.
Guzda said the contractor was working on the home. Borcina was also hospitalized but his condition was not released, MSNBC reported.
Matthew Badger, Madoona's husband, was in New York City at the time and had to be driven to Stamford on Sunday morning.
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.
Acting Fire Chief Antonio Conte told reporters that firefighters knew others were in the home but that they couldn't be saved because the flames were too large and the heat was too intense.
It's never easy. That's for sure, he said. I've been on this job 38 years ... not an easy day.
Fire officials are still uncertain what caused the fire and said they won't knw until a few days when fire marshals can enter the burnt house to examine it.