- - Monday, December 26, 2011


House where 5 died in Christmas fire razed

STAMFORD — A house severely damaged in a Christmas morning fire that killed three children and two grandparents, one of whom worked as Santa Claus at Saks Fifth Avenue, has been torn down.

The building department determined that the $1.7 million house was unsafe and ordered it razed, Stamford fire chief Antonio Conte said.

The home’s owner, advertising executive Madonna Badger, and her male acquaintance escaped from the fire. But Ms. Badger’s three daughters — a 10-year-old and 7-year-old twins — and her parents, who were visiting for the holiday, died, police said.

Neighbors said they awoke to the sound of screaming shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday and rushed outside to help, but they could do nothing as flames devoured the large, turreted home.

Police said the male acquaintance who escaped the blaze with Ms. Badger was a contractor working on the home. He was also hospitalized but his condition was not released.

Ms. 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 Sunday evening.


Police chief: Someone took 20-month-old girl

WATERVILLE — Investigators looking for a 20-month-old girl reported missing a week before Christmas believe someone took her from her father’s home, the police chief leading the investigation said Monday.

The comment by Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey marked the first time since the search for Ayla Reynolds began that police have directly said they don’t believe she left the home by herself.

“We certainly feel someone took Ayla out of that house,” Mr. Massey said at a news conference at which he announced a $30,000 reward was being offered for help finding her.

The reward, assembled with donations from people and businesses in the Waterville area, is the biggest ever offered in the state for a missing person, state Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said.

Hundreds of police officers, game wardens and local residents have searched for Ayla since she was reported missing by her father, Justin DiPietro, on the morning of Dec. 17.

Story Continues →