Yesterday we brought you the tragic story of the five people — three girls and their grandparents — who died when a fire engulfed their Stamford, Conn. home. Now, Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia has told the Associated Press that the fire “fireplace-related,” according to the New York Times. Pavia also said that there was no foul play.
New details about the events surrounding the Christmas morning fire, have been released over the last two days. One of the victims — Lomer Johnson, 71 — had attempted to rescue one of his granddaughters, the Times reported. His body was found on the roof outside the window of a bedroom where she was found.
Johnson had worked on Christmas Eve as Santa Claus in Manhattan’s flagship Saks Fifth Avenue store. His daughter, Madonna Badger, survived the blaze that claimed her parents and children as did family friend Michael Borcina. The Times reported that Badger was released from Stamford Hospital; Borcina was still in the hospital in fair condition. According to the Daily News Badger’s brother said that Badger does not yet know many of the details of what occurred.
Monday evening, the Daily News reported that the fire had started with the embers of a Yule log. That evening, CBS 2 News cited a source that says that Badger told investigators that she and Borcina had removed the coals which are thought to have eventually started the blaze from the fireplace so they could put out their fire more quickly.
Update: 4:45 p.m. The Associated Press has reported that the fire was indeed started by embers from a fireplace, which had been “discarded near a first-floor entryway.”
Update: December 28, 9:24 a.m. The AP story has since been updated with more details about rescue attempts and the start of the fire.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 27, 2011