Five in family killed as fire engulfs Conn. home

Tina Fineberg/Associated Press
Police said the early-morning fire in Stamford, Conn., killed three children and their grandparents. The children’s mother and a contractor managed to escape.

STAMFORD, Conn. — A fire tore through the home of an advertising executive near the Connecticut shoreline yesterday, killing her three children and her parents.

Madonna Badger and an acquaintance were able to escape from the house as it was engulfed by flames, said Stamford Police Sergeant Paul Guzda. But Badger’s three daughters — a 10- year-old and 7-year-old twins — died in the fire, Guzda said.

He said Badger’s parents, who were visiting for the holiday, also died.


Neighbors awoke to the sound of screams shortly before 5 a.m. and rushed to help, but they could only watch in horror as flames devoured the home in the darkness and the shocked, injured survivors were led away from the house.

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‘‘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.’’

Badger, an ad executive in the fashion industry, is the founder of New York City-based Badger & Winters Group. A supervisor at Stamford Hospital said she was treated and discharged by last night.

Property records show she bought the five-bedroom, waterfront Victorian home for $1.7 million last year. The house is in Shippan Point, a wealthy neighborhood that juts into Long Island Sound.

The acquaintance who also escaped the blaze was a contractor doing work on the home, Guzda said. He was hospitalized but his condition was not released.


Badger’s parents lived in Southbury, Conn., Guzda said.

Firefighters knew there were other people in the home but could not get to them because the flames were too large and the heat too intense, said Acting Fire Chief Antonio Conte, his voice cracking with emotion.

‘‘It’s never easy, that’s for sure,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve been on this job 38 years . . . not an easy day.’’

Conte said fire officials do not yet know the cause of the blaze and probably will not get clues for a few days until fire marshals can enter the structure.

By last evening, the roof of the blackened house had largely collapsed.


A neighbor, Sam Cingari Jr., said, ‘‘We heard this screaming at 5 in the morning. The whole house was ablaze.’’

‘It’s never easy, that’s for sure. I’ve been on this job 38 years . . . not an easy day.’

Cingari said he did not know his neighbors, who he said bought the house last year and were renovating it.

Charles Mangano, who lives nearby, said his wife woke him and alerted him to the fire. He ran outside to see if he could help and saw a number of firetrucks already in front of the house.

‘‘I heard someone yell ‘Help, help, help me!’ and I started sprinting up my driveway,’’ Mangano told The Advocate of Stamford.

He told the newspaper he saw a man and a woman being taken out of the house. The woman said, ‘‘My whole life is in there,’’ Mangano said. ‘‘They were both obviously in a state of shock.’’

Badger has been the creative mind behind ad campaigns for leading fashion brands, including the iconic Marky Mark underwear ads for Calvin Klein.

Badger & Winters has worked with Proctor & Gamble, Cover- Girl, A/X Armani Exchange, Emanuel Ungaro, and Vera Wang, among other high-profile corporations.