- Associated Press - Monday, December 26, 2011

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Fire swept through an advertising executive’s Victorian home along the Connecticut shoreline, killing her three children and her parents.

Madonna Badger and a male acquaintance were able to escape from the house as it was engulfed by flames on Christmas morning, Stamford police Sgt. Paul Guzda said. But Mrs. Badger’s three daughters — a 10-year-old and 7-year-old twins — died in the fire, Sgt. Guzda said.

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

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

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

Fire destroyed a Victorian-style house on Long Island Sound in Stamford, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011. Officials said two adults and three children died in the blaze, and two others escaped. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
Fire destroyed a Victorian-style house on Long Island Sound in Stamford, Conn., ... more >

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

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

“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.”

Police officers drove Mrs. Badger’s husband, Matthew Badger, from New York to Stamford on Sunday morning.

Mrs. Badger’s parents lived in Southbury, Conn., Sgt. 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.”

Chief Conte said fire officials don’t yet know the cause of the blaze and likely would not get clues for a few days until fire marshals can enter the structure and examine it.

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

A neighbor, Sam Cingari Jr., said he was awakened by the sound of screaming and saw that the house was engulfed by flames.

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