Stamford Fire Dept. Releases Audiotapes In Deadly Christmas Blaze

STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Newly released audio tapes are telling of the frantic search for survivors during the deadly Christmas day fire in Stamford.  Firefighters tried to save three children and their grandparents, until the flames drove them out.

Here are some trascriptions from the radio calls:

Firefighter 1: “We need more pressure on the green line!  Give us some water!”

Firefighter 1: “We got a report from one of the victims, there’s people in that window.”

Firefighter 2: “We’re gonna need some protection up there.”

Firefighter 1: “Yeah I hear you. We gotta get in there though.”

As Madonna Badger screamed “save my babies,” Stamford firefighters searched for victims until the flames and the danger overwhelmed them.

Firefighter 1: “Be advised you have heavy fire right above your head.  Back out.  Back out.

Firefighter 2: “All units on the interior, all units on the interior, back out.”


The loss of her parents and her children has overwhelmed Madonna Badger. Her uncle, Al McCarthy, told CBS 2 that Badger spent the past few days being treated for emotional trauma.

“I mean, my God, I was talking to her a couple times. She’s like any mother, and she was a real good mother to the children.  I can’t even get my head around what she’s going through.  I mean she lost her whole family, there’s nobody left,” he said.

Meanwhile, the family of the victims are also reaching out to the countless strangers who have been sending their condolences. Demolition crews started removing the rubble of the once stately home that overlooked Long Island Sound on Thursday morning.

As the search goes on for anything salvageable, the makeshift memorial for three young sisters – 10-year-old Lily Badger and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah — and their grandparents grows.

Many are posting their thoughts on a Facebook page created for the girl’s mother and survivor of the fire Madonna Badger.

Her brother Wade Johnson responded on the site writing, “Know that your warm thoughts and words are making a difference for me and my family. Oh yeah, Dad would want me to tell you all to please check your smoke detectors.”

His dad, Lomer Johnson, spent his retirement years playing Santa Claus but had spent a career as a safety chief for a large company protecting employees from fire and other danger.

His son wrote that his father, “died a hero.  I am not surprised.  Mom did too, she was in the stairwell, carrying the twins out.”

Stamford’s building department released blueprints for the home’s renovations and says the plans called for hardwiring of a smoke and carbon monoxide detection system.

“We don’t know if the devices were installed and activated,” the Building Department’s Robert DeMarco   said. “We  weren’t there to make any final inspections.”

One of the twins was found on the third floor while another was found with her grandmother, Pauline Johnson, on the stairs leading from the second floor to the third.

Lily was found in a second floor back bedroom window, just feet from her grandfather who had climbed through the window onto a flat roof, but fell through and died of head trauma.

The girls’ uncle said their father, Matthew Badger, is devastated.

The other survivor Michael Borcina, who investigators say improperly placed ashes from a fireplace too close to the home sparking the blaze, was released from the hospital.

His sister told CBS 2, “Michael is doing OK… as best as he can.  The family is very sad about what happened.”

The family must now face the pain of planning the funeral. The lack of success is also haunting the heroes who tried to rescue the victims.

“This is going to remain with these guys for the rest of their careers.  Our hearts and our prayers go out to that family. Believe me we’re all hurting from this,” said Capt. Bill Avalos Stamford Fire Department Spokesman.

Please leave a comment below…

  • susan

    Sadly, both Badger and Borcina are responsible for the horrific torture of 5 innocent people. It appears that the 5 were on the 3rd floor and the 2 were on the 2nd floor She manage’s to run to and climb out a window on the 2nd floor and I don’t recall reading just how he got out. The grandmother and one child were found on the stairway from the 2nd to 3rd floor which means it was intact. WHY the 2 would not get up those stairs immediately to try to save them is beyond explanation. regardless of conditions NOTHING would keep me from getting to my kids even if it meant dying with them. This is beyond belief and someone must be held accountable for negligent homicide. WHO removes embers until days later anyway? Both badger and Borcina had already broken the law by occupying the home illegally, if it is true there was no occupancy permit…so why would we believe anything they say. this whole thing makes me sick.

    • sashby

      I agree with you. The mother was negligent because there were no smoke alarms which would have alerted them that there was a fire. The boyfriend is the cause of the fire. They are both morons and these poor innocent children and grandparents were the victims.

  • jrg6362

    Totally agree with posts. This guy Borcina had the kids, by his own statement to police he said 2 of them ran back upstairs from the second floor. He didn’t go after them, he saved himself instead, coward. Then he puts a show on in the front lawn as he’s being held back like wants to go back in and save the kids. Of course he knows the firefighters are not going to let him. Whats he even doing there on Christmas Eve in the husbands house with his kids…..she is still married, His picture says it all, a city-boy poser thats totally responsible.

    • mooshka12

      u suck- u n=know nothing of the reality and details

  • Leeza

    Hope Borcina is investigated. A “contractor” does not know how to dispose of embers/cinders? A “contractor” has a fire going, but no smoke/carbon monoxide detectors operating? Was he having a drink at 3am? This stinks to high heaven. He was “leading” the children out but “lost” them? Who says? You are taking terrified children from a fire: you do not push them in front of you or take their hands or grab their arms or carry them or grab their torsos? you “lead” them? Borcina smells in this.

  • Elaine Long

    No imbecile here….the embers from my fireplace ALWAYS were taken OUTSIDE AND AT LEAST 50 feet from my huse. Why he had to remove them to begin with puzzles me. IT WAS A FIREPLACE….you leave the embers inside, remove a day or two later when they’ve cooled-but then again I wasnt there so I dont know. In any event anyone knows, YOU DONT LEAVE THEM IN A MUD ROOM!

  • China Doll

    I’m not an imbeciles. I’m just giggly and easy.

  • DanTe

    Hey, where’s the idiot’s circle of imbeciles? You know, the ones that say: Everyone makes this same mistake – putting hot ashes in paper bags.

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