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Tragic Error In Judgment Was Cause of Christmas Eve Fire

Madonna Badger

A photo of the Badger sisters and their grandparents taken prior to the fire that took their lives.

{Updated}

It was Christmas Eve, and the three little Badger girls were worried. Santa might get burned by the smoldering embers still in the fireplace.  So those embers were removed, and placed in a bag. Not long after, both of Madonna Badger’s parents and all three of her children died when her house burned down in a tragic fire.

The New York Daily News reports that it was Michael Borcina, the boyfriend of Madonna Badger, who put the ashes in a bag and left them inside the house, “… in or outside an entryway, near the trash.” The still hot embers started the blaze.

The New York Post, conversely, reports that the bag was removed from the house, but that Borcina never doused the ashes with water, adding that investigators believe, “The wind carried them back toward the house …”

There are no words. Part of me wonders why anyone would think it’s a good idea to put hot embers from a fireplace in a bag.  A bag? Could it have been paper? Or plastic?  What on earth was he thinking?  Why didn’t he spray them with water, whether they were inside the house or out? The other part of me feels terrible for Borcina and Badger and the immense pain they must both be experiencing at this time, pain that I can’t even begin to comprehend.  It was an accident. Everyone makes mistakes.  Anything can happen in the blink of an eye, even to the most wonderful and responsible people.

A private wake will be held today for the three sisters who died — 10-year-old Lily and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah — and their funeral will take place on Thursday in Manhattan.

Photo credit: The Johnson Family

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