Survivors Of Deadly Christmas Fire In Stamford Being Re-Interviewed By Officials

STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Investigators are re-interviewing the two survivors of a Christmas morning fire in Stamford in which three young girls and their grandparents died.

Police and fire officials say they agreed to give Madonna Badger and Michael Borcina time to mourn the loss of Badger’s daughters and parents. Police Capt. Richard Conklin says, “But now we’re moving ahead on that.”

Authorities have said the embers from the fireplace that were left in a bag in the mudroom of the home started the fire.

Killed were Badger’s three daughters, 9-year-old Lily and 7-year-old twins Sarah and Grace, as well as her parents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson.

PHOTOS: Funeral For Stamford Fire Victims

Investigators said Lomer died while trying to save one of his granddaughters.

Badger and Borcina, a friend and contractor who had been renovating the house, managed to escape the fire. Officials now want to determine whether the house had working smoke detectors.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


One Comment

  1. Deborah Jeffries says:

    You know NYC and Suzette you guys make a good point. I will add that the socialite mother had not been dating him long. We know it was less than a year because according to the contractors working under him, he was dating someone else and kept talking about how rich she was to get more work and money out of her and this was in early 2011 which would mean she was dating him less than a year. How well did she know him while after dating a few months, he’s staying there (I DO NOT BELIEVE IT WAS JUST FOR ONE NIGHT EITHER) with her three daughters in the house? He could be a rapist or murderer, but her libido was more important as I’m sure since she was too cheap to buy smoke detectors, she was likely too cheap to do a background check on a man who was spending much time around her girl tribe as she calls them. This is yet another BAD judgment call.

    1. NYC10009 says:

      Agree, more displays of her terrible judgment. You’re right, his sleepover definitely wasn’t for that one night. Imagine allowing this man whom she didn’t know very well to not only sleep in her bed in front of her young children before her divorce from their father was final, but then giving him ultimate power over her children’s safety by not checking up that all the permits were in place, like the Certificate of Occupancy which forbid them from living on the 2nd floor, AND installing battery operated smoke detectors after the contractor failed to activate the hard-wired one. I’m certain there’s so much more we don’t even know about. I am praying this long chain of bizarre behavior, actions and choices both before and after the tragic fire are raising the same red flags to the investigators.

      1. Suzette says:

        As I read your post, I suddenly thought of a metaphor. Take one self-absorbed “ad exec” with a libido gone wild, mix with one parasitic thug having no apparent sense, add three helpless little children, and two elderly grandparents, then dump a bag of smoldering embers on top of everything and stir in a large, uninhabitable old, wooden house – and voila. You have a recipe for disaster.

      2. Suzette says:

        Yes, why was this man, who had known her for less than a year, and who already had shown his stripes by making a mess of the renovations on her house (according to several workers employed by his unlicensed construction company), then be invited to sleep with her in the unsafe house on Christmas Eve, of all nights!? Instead of encroaching on her now dead family, on a night most Christians hold as sacred, did he not opt to sleep in his own home? Does he not have a home of his own, or family? Actually, we know he has a sister. I think the answer to why he was sleeping in that house on that night may lie somewhere between his own greed and her narcissism. Or, is the answer more sinister than that?

        1. susan says:


  2. Deborah Jeffries says:

    Yes she was the mother of the year, Carol Brady, MILK AND COOKIES AND NO SMOKE DETECTORS, FIRE WALLS, NO 911 CALL AND NO CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL FROM THE CITY. And then why not build a fire in a tinder dry wood home and let your handyman dispose of the coals with such great judgment that he used. She should win mother of the year and a safety award for that too I guess?

    1. NYC10009 says:

      And don’t forget allowing your sociopath contractor BF to sleep in your bed in front of your little girls before your divorce is final.

      Mother of the Year! Woo Hoo!

      1. NYC10009 says:

        Typo: “her” sociopath contractor BF….

    2. Suzette says:

      Carol Brady…lol. Now, there was a woman aptly suited to carry the name “madonna.” Joking aside, what a keen observation you made: It was the neighbors who called 911, NOT Badger or Borcina! We knew this from reading news accounts of the tragedy, of course, but I, for one, didn’t think of the possible significance of it, until I read your post. Why did the two people who saw smoke that night, fully knowing the children and grandparents were trapped on the upper floors of the house, fail to immediately grab a cell phone and dial 911??? This is very odd.

  3. Blasterific says:

    You 4 dimwits need to get a life. Sheesh! Oh and make me a sandwich!!!

    1. Suzette says:

      Make your own sandwich, Bumstead. While you’re at it, spread a little common sense on the bread.

      1. Blasterific says:

        Right after you serve me a slice of get a clue. Oh and I’ll take a Suzie Q while you’re at it.

  4. Anne says:

    Something I have been thinking about, maybe totally irrelevent…. These little children must have had a nanny… A nanny who loved them, took care of them…Has anyone heard of someone?? This person must be devastated… And noone has mentioned her!

    1. Cherry says:

      I haven’t read anything about a nanny; but I have read on several accounts that she was a good mother and she loved her children.

    2. Suzette says:

      Yes, the poor nanny, whoever she is, may be too devastated to speak. She may have been told to keep silent. The doomed Badger girls also had a little dog that can be seen in that last picture of them with their Dad. Sadly, one report stated it perished in the fire.

  5. Deborah Jeffries says:

    No Cherry I’m not a grouch. Just using some sarcasm to let you see just how ridiculous it would be to throw a log on the fireplace, dump the embers in the trash (that can stay lit for days) and go to bed. But I’m sure that you have smoke detectors as do I and at least God forbid if a fire broke out in my home, I’d have a warning and time to get out. The real tragedy besides the dumping of the embers, was that everyone would’ve escaped not just Badger and Borcina. I figure this is the reason why the police are grilling them on this issue and it’s a rather important component of proving criminal negligence.

    1. Cherry says:

      I know how ridiculous it is; and I hope they throw the book at Borcino. As for her, I can only imagine the grief she is feeling.

  6. Deborah Jeffries says:

    Cherry, why don’t you throw a log on your fireplace and dump the embers in the trash. WARM WISHES.

    1. Cherry says:

      Ooooo…she’s a fire bug as well as a grouch. LOL, LOL.

  7. Deborah Jeffries says:

    Cherry, that wouldn’t bother me if it were true and the term is self made woman not women please brush up on your English you’re obviously not a college grad. She is a KILLER KILLER KILLER. My English is simplified so someone as intellectually deficient as yourself can understand. Ted Bundy was brilliant and self made, didn’t make him any less of a killer.

    1. Cherry says:

      I hope you are never picked for a jury. And…you ran two sentences together Deborah. LOL!

  8. Deborah Jeffries says:

    Suzette, answering your question about what people are saying, I live on the West Side of Stamford an area that is considered high poverty and most people say what I have and that’s if this happened on the West Side or the South End, the both of them would’ve been jailed. I’ve posted on other tags my sheer anger at the one sided and overly sympathetic coverage by our newspaper The Stamford Advocate and local cable News 12 CT. To tell one side of a story lacks ethics and journalistic integrity.

    1. Suzette says:

      I agree. The media has lost its moral compass. If it ever had one. So, it follows that the media would be impressed by Madonna Badger. Here was a woman who became wealthy by working in a shallow profession, advertising, which is about manipulating people into buying products they don’t really need with money they really don’t have. Her co-career, marketing, is all about advancing the public image of people who may have zero character. The old slogan “You sin, we spin,” is what a marketing executive does every day. The media can relate! She also was living with her small children and the Borcina character in a big, uninhabitable house. Not yet divorced, she opted to cohabit with a man who would prove to be the catalyst for unimaginable horror on Christmas Eve night. Were her helpless children afraid of him? Is this why they ran from hiim, back up the fiery staircase and to their deaths? There is so much about this tragedy which is suspicious and needs be investigated by someone willing to exercise a little journalistic muscle. Sadly, the morally bankrupt media seems not to care..

      1. NYC10009 says:

        I’m hardly a prude, but sleeping with the contractor/boyfriend in the same house as her extremely young daughters, reflects poorly on her parenting skills and judgment. And combined with the fact that she was still married at the time. It’s really disgusting.

        You make great points, Suzette.

        1. NYC10009 says:

          I should add that such behavior supports that Madonna Badger is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. And, I believe, that’s what so many of us are picking-up by the bizarre actions, inappropriate behavior, weird statements and chain of events, both before and after the fire.

          1. Suzette says:

            Thank you, NYC10009. I agree Badger likely is a classic narcissist, for all the reasons you mentioned. Do you share my view that her “eulogy” was odd? I was struck by the way she talked about her children as if they were part of a fantasy life or possessions. Not surprisingly, her use of certain memorable phases like “my girl tribe” and “all they left was love,” made instant, sympathetic headlines. Plus, it was a very long speech. I recall seeing an old online clip of Ted Kennedy trying to publicly eulogize his murdered brother, and he was so grief-stricken, he barely could choke out a few words. Anyone who has just suffered the extreme loss of a loved one – not to mention five loved ones in one fell swoop – would find it difficult to speak at such a moment. A showboating narcissist, however, would regard a eulogy as an “opp” to talk on and on and on.

            1. NYC10009 says:

              Yes, her eulogy was very odd, including the way she kept referring to her children as “MY” all the time, not “our.” Very narcissistic and cruel, considering the grieving father was sitting only a few feet away and could not speak for himself because he was so overcome with grief. She showed an enormous lack of empathy for the father, not only by constantly referencing her kids as “MY” children, not “our children,” but flaunting her relationship with their children’s killer by walking arm-in-arm with him at the funeral. Yes, hard to believe she could even speak during that time but seemed to view it as a chance to be in the spotlight with her celebrity friends. The other way she treated her children as objects was during the fire itself. She screamed, “MY entire life is in there!” No, it’s her children’s and parent’s lives that were being snuffed out due to her negligence, not HER life. That is the clinical definition of a narcissist – she sees her children as extensions of herself without having a separate identity. That line so reeks to me of extreme narcissism. Anybody else would have wanted to be as clear as possible to the rescuers, and screamed, “My children and parents are in there!” Instead, she treated them as objects, as you also point out. Sorry if I”m repeating things here that I posted before!

              1. Suzette says:

                NYC, what you said bears repeating. I think I will never be able to forget that shocking image of her walking arm in arm with the goon who wiped out her family. Is she that desperate for a man? If she is a narcissist, she craves non-stop attention from anyone who will supply it. Leaning on the arm of her children’s genuinely bereft father just wouldn’t have been enough. Of course, it is possible that she was the one who left the embers smoldering in the house. If this is the case, she may be keeping him close, out of fear that he will spill the beans at some point. She could be looking at a hellish lifetime of making happy a loathsome moocher – and possible blackmailer – whom she never will be able to trust. Personally, I don’t care about the twisted dynamic of their relationship, except for whatever part it played in the loss of five lives. But, like many others, I am concerned that LE will be unduly influenced by her wealth and connections.

                1. NYC10009 says:

                  And since she’s in the middle of divorce proceedings, if she’s the one who improperly tossed out those live ashes, it would make twisted sense for her to have the contractor BF claim responsibility. It would protect her from the husband’s lawsuits, which would lead to her losing alimony and all the other assets they shared between them. I wouldn’t put such a cover-up past Madonna Badger AT ALL. And, of course, her contractor BF would agree to the plot since he’d be handsomely compensated by her.

  9. Deborah Jeffries says:

    Cherry, the funeral was attended by Calvin Klein and Vera Wang just some of the celebrities who were there so SHE IS A NEW YORK CITY SOCIALITE who moved to the burbs. Maybe she can star in a new show and they should call it The Real Housewives of York Correctional Facility. And thanks go out to my comrades Suzette and NYC10009 for the great commentary and common sense that so many of these sappy heads seem to be lacking.

    1. Cherry says:

      SHE IS A SELF-MADE WOMEN. Does that bother you?

    2. NYC10009 says:

      Hahaha! “The Real Housewives of York Correctional Facility”! Love it. We have to pitch the idea to Bravo immediately!

      Thank you, Deborah Jeffries, for your clear-sighted, intelligent, and brave posts.

    3. Suzette says:

      Thanks, Deborah. And, many thanks to you for your spirited and truly insightful posts.

  10. Deborah Jeffries says:

    To the incredibly ignorant person who said they both learned their lesson. I can just picture Badger saying to Borcina over a romantic dinner YEAH OOPS WE KILLED FIVE PEOPLE, WON’T DO THAT EVER AGAIN BABE. Do you realize how preposterous you sound?

    1. Suzette says:

      Bravo! You answered her nutty comment more succinctly than I.

    2. NYC10009 says:

      Don’t forget their pinky promise!

  11. Deborah Jeffries says:

    Suzette, I’m afraid you might be right about the Socialite and th Handyman could get away with it because my Mayor Pavia is a sappy sympathetic supporter of hers and while a police investigation is supposed to be objective and independent of the city, I’m a Stamford resident and wouldn’t put it past the Mayor to try to use influence. Wealthy people get away with drunk driving resulting in fatalities here all the time. They get prominent lawyers to keep delaying the case . Tricia Coccomo a school teacher from a wealthy family killed three people in a head on collision driving drunk in 2005. She began serving twelve years two weeks ago nearly seven years after the accident and during that period she was allowed to drive a car. The sad thing is there are several cases pending right now with similarities to hers. Rich people kill and since they’re big taxpayers, no one cares about the victims.

    1. Cherry says:

      Mrs. Badger is not a socialite; she’s a self-made woman. And…She’s not the perp here; she’s one of the victims!

    2. Suzette says:

      I am glad you referred to him as “handyman,” as that word is more fitting than calling him a “contractor.” Interesting that you actually live in Stamford. What are other residents of your city saying? I have noticed that in articles posted in the online Stamford newspapers, there rarely are any comments about it.

  12. Deborah Jeffries says:

    OH MY GOD when they said that Badger AND Borcina needed time to grieve over their loss. What exactly did Borcina lose other than his reputation which according to business colleagues posts, wasn’t too impeccable to begin with? The socialite and the handyman need to have a residence set up for them and it’s called a prison cell.

    1. Suzette says:

      @Deborah Jeffries, I agree. What, indeed, did HE lose other than a reputation that, according to several who worked for him in his “contracting” business, was checkered at best?! What angers many of us is the real likelihood that he and the “socialite” will not be held accountable by LE for negligently causing the deaths of five innocent people.

    2. NYC10009 says:

      They “needed time to grieve over their loss” Translation: They needed time to come up with a good alibi.

      1. Suzette says:

        Yes, and arm themselves with lawyers, of course! His being financed by her, obviously, since he wasn’t even licensed in the state of CT. It is amazing, isn’t it, how wealthy and influential a person can become just by concocting a sleazy ad that featured an “actor” showing off his underwear

  13. Suzette says:

    @ Sue. I wonder why you would think Badger and Borcina have “learned their lesson.” Mere days after negligently causing an inferno that wiped out Badger’s family, Borcina piped up with this appalling comment, “We are staying positive.” And, then there was Badger, wailing at her children’s very public funeral, “Why me? Why my children? Why?” As if she were trying to convince the world that she was clueless why her little girls and her parents were dead. No, those two evidently haven’t “learned their lesson,” as you put it, and who knows if they ever will feel responsible.

    1. Sue says:

      Suzette – Have you ever experienced an extreme tragedy/loss? First, one is not thinking/speaking clearly. A couple of other considerations, I have not seen it reported as to who left the embers… maybe it was the grandfather? I would take the “trying to stay positive” as a response to folks to be looking for signs of consideration of suicide. The “why me” comes with one of the first few stages of grief.

      1. Suzette says:

        @Sue. Perhaps you should read the news accounts of this horrific case. The contractor/boyfriend readily admitted to putting those embers in a “bag” and then leaning this bag against the wooden wall of an anteroom at the rear of the home. Those are the facts, according to the police,, which most of us here could recite them in our sleep at this point. Five people were killed as a direct result of the boyfriend’s careless. negligence. Or, as it has been theorized, he could be “covering” for the mother, that she was the one who deposed of the embers in such a reckless manner. It had to be one of them. The poor grandfather was upstairs alseep! But it is easy to blame the victims. The mother shifted blame in her sob PR story, in which she claimed that her girls wanted the embers removed from the fireplace, so that Santa wouldn’t get his feet burned!. This was tantamount to blaming them for their own deaths. As for this sentence in your comment, “I would take the “trying to stay positive” as a response to folks to be looking for signs of consideration of suicide,” what “folks” are you referencing? If you are suggesting Borcina feels suicidal, I would advise again you to read his chatty interview. He came across as a callous, arrogant boob. Finally, the mother publicly wailing “Why me?” garnered much sympathy from the media, but ignores one inescapable fact. That, as a mother, she was responsible for her childrens’ safety, and she let them down. The facts in this tragedy should count more than projecting one’s own feelings onto Madonna Badger.

      2. Cherry says:

        I agree tha,t “why me”, is typical of the first stages of grief. I read that Mrs. Badger was released from a psychiatric hospital 1 or 2 days before the wake. And right after the fire her family was keeping her under cover, so to speak. Maybe she wasn’t reading the morning paper during that time. Maybe her family wasn’t telling her about the embers in the bag.

    2. NYC10009 says:

      Exactly, Suzette. Badger kept complaining at the funeral that the loss of the five lives was “incomprehensible.” Well, no it’s not. If you fail to install working smoke detectors in a old, sprawling wooden Victorian house, put your kids and parents in there without a certificate of occupancy, and then turn your back while your contractor BF (who showed lapses of judgement in the past, if only she’d been paying attention – they’re called “red flags”) improperly disposes of live fireplace ashes from YOUR fireplace in YOUR house that you should have been overseeing, then no, she didn’t learn anything and is STILL refusing to accept responsibility. Narcissists and sociopaths are unable to feel much guilt, much less learn from the past. That’s why there’s a little something called Negligent Homicide that forces them to.

      1. Suzette says:

        NYC10009, excellent comment.

  14. Anne says:

    Oh I don’t know what to think anymore…. we might never know what really happened!

    1. Cherry says:

      I think you are probably right.

  15. Suzette says:

    The investigator said today, after interviewing Madonna Badger, that it “went very well.” He sounded positively giddy, swept away on a pink and aquamarine cloud of regard for the irresponsible “celebrity” mother. As an aside, isn’t it ironic that she calls herself “Madonna!” So, this tepid investigation likely will go nowhere, and the two responsible for a horrific fire that ended five lives, will never be held accountable for their careless negligence. How sickening is that.

    1. NYC10009 says:

      Interesting that she brought along her attorney to this interview. She is fully aware that it was her negligence that caused this tragic event, and that includes not overseeing the choices and actions of her contractor BF. It was HER fireplace, and she turned her back and allowed him to do whatever the hell he felt like with the ashes. You don’t leave a loaded revolved lying around your house, and then let a visitor do what he pleases with it. Ultimately, the buck stopped with her. Or should have. She gave this man way too much power, actually, ultimate power, over the safety of her family. And the way she walked arm-in-arm with him in front of the grieving father at the funeral says that she still is not accepting responsibility for that, and it doesn’t bother her in the slightest.

      Oh, and what happened to her parents’ funeral? Guess it wasn’t a big enough PR move for her, so she kept THAT one out of the limelight. Despicable.

      1. Suzette says:

        NYC19999, yes, the word despicable sums it up. What kind of human being publicly clasps arms with the man responsible for her childrens’ and parents’ deaths? It is mind boggling that those two breathe the same air as the rest of us.

        1. NYC10009 says:

          Some of her remarks at the funeral also point to extreme narcissism. For one thing, she kept referring to her children as “MY kids,” even though the grieving father was there. It should have been referenced as “our” children,” our of respect to the father sitting only a few feet away who was too overcome with grief to be able to speak. Also, her cries of “My entire life is in there” to the fireman who were battling the fire was bizarre. No, it wasn’t “her” life in there, but those of her dying children and parents. Most people would be clear to the firemen and shout to them, “My children and parents are in there!” But she referenced them as if they are objects. I would not at all be surprised if a long string of negligence is revealed, and this tragic story appears on 48 Hours one of these days.

          1. Suzette says:

            Yes, 48 Hours is waiting in the wings, no doubt. And, they likely will portray the mother in a mostly sympathetic light, out of fear that her lawyers will jump on them with a lawsuit. I found her criy “My entire life is in there,” odd and telling, as well, because it sounded as if she was unable to disquinish the difference between her Blackberry, her children and her incinerated dead parents.

    2. Cherry says:

      What is she supposed to call herself. Madonna is her name.

  16. K Y Belly says:

    I would think the home insurance company and banks that hold the mortgage
    will have their own investigation .

  17. Mayor Koch's dental bridge says:

    Always has been something fishy in this homicide with the mom and
    contractor BF. Time will tell and Public Relations spin control won’t help her and him.
    A man who is a contractor puts live embers on a floor in a house only on drugs
    or drunk,then it’s a police matter.Negligent Homicide.

    1. Cherry says:

      K Y & Mayor K d b
      I was surprised how quickly the fire department ruled out arson.

  18. susan says:

    if allowed to invsetigate and question, the fire department and the detectives can find out from the survivors what actually happened as there have been a couple of stories and so many people are playing csi with regard to this case…any way you look at it, the poor woman lost her family and she probably is feeling a great deal of guilt..if problems with the construction and licenses and smoke detectors are to blame, then the investigators should question some of the workmen as well (there was on comment last week form a man who actually did work on the house and knew was enlighteneing)

  19. NYC10009 says:

    Driving and drinking that kills is also a “stupid mistake,” but the individuals are held accountable. That’s why there’s negligent homicide. There are too many red flags in this tragic story to be ignored,and that’s why the police are investigating. The house didn’t even have its Certificate of Occupancy, and they weren’t allowed to living on the second floor. It’s about time the investigators looked more closely at this horrific tragedy.

  20. MIKE says:



    1. Cherry says:

      Money is what keeps me in my home, provides my food and other necessities, buys gasoline so I can go places, etc. It’s no evil!

    2. PRE says:

      It is the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil.

  21. DaEmph says:

    Who the heck cares!!! Its going into February, MOVE ON!!!!!!!!

    1. PRE says:

      If you don’t care, then why are you reading it?

      1. Cherry says:

        Good question!

  22. nrichard says:

    what is this witch hunt about? it was a terrible tragedy because of something that was a stupid mistake – My God, why must there always be someone to blame! i am sure that they are all guilt ridden – that should be enough!!

    1. NYC10009 says:

      Driving and drinking that kills is also a “stupid mistake,” but the individuals are held accountable. That’s why there’s negligent homicide. There are too many red flags in this tragic story to be ignored,and that’s why the police are investigating. The house didn’t even have its Certificate of Occupancy, and they weren’t allowed to be living on the second floor. It’s about time the investigators looked more closely at this horrific tragedy.

      1. Sue says:

        And what would this solve? Has not punishment already been handed out for the “stupidity”. I think they have already “learned their lesson”.

        1. NYC10009 says:

          Think again.

    2. Cherry says:

      Do you call all police investications witch hunts?

Comments are closed.

More From CBS New York

Get Our Morning Briefs

Watch & Listen LIVE