Madonna Badger House Fire Sparked by Ashes Removed for Santa

By Ben Fractenberg on January 3, 2012 9:30pm 

Lomer Johnson, dressed as Santa, with his wife and three granddaughters — all of whom died in the Christmas Day blaze.
Lomer Johnson, dressed as Santa, with his wife and three granddaughters — all of whom died in the Christmas Day blaze.
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Gigmasters.com

MANHATTAN — In a tragic twist, the Connecticut fire that killed ad executive Madonna Badger's family was sparked by embers taken from the fireplace so that Santa Claus could make it safely down the chimney, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The ashes were reportedly placed next to the house so the Badger's three children, 10-year-old Lilly and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah Badger, would not worry about Santa Clause getting into the house.

Badger, who once lived in Manhattan and was an art director for Calvin Klein, made it out alive with her friend Michael Borcina.

But her parents, Lomer, a former Saks Fifth Avenue Santa Claus, and Pauline Johnson, were killed along with her children in the blaze.

Investigators believe Borcina placed the ashes outside an entryway near the trash, according to the AP.

Probers are looking into whether the house had working smoke alarms and the status of renovation work being done.

They are also reportedly looking into whether Borcina's construction company, Tiberias Construction Inc., had proper permits to work on the house.

A funeral service for the girls is being held Thursday at St. Thomas Church on 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue.

Details for making donations in the memory of the children can be found on the Badger & Winters web site.

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