Last Updated: 7:26 PM, June 19, 2012
Posted: 12:03 PM, June 19, 2012
David McGlynnMadonna Badger, center, lost her three young daughters and her parents in a fatal Christmas Day fire at her home in Stamford, Conn.
A tearful Madonna Badger recalled the heart-breaking moment she knew her three young kids were probably lost in a deadly house fire that also killed their grandparents.
The ad executive pleaded with paramedics to tell her what happened to 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah and 10-year-old Lily -- and the rescuers’ silence told the sad tale.
“I begged and begged them. There was an ambulance, and the walkie-talkies are going on, and I’m yelling at them, ‘Where are my kids? Where are my babies?’ “ Badger told NBC’s “Today” in an interview set to air Thursday.
“Somebody said, ‘Turn off the radios, turn off the radios!’ I knew they must’ve… I don’t know what happened. Something really bad.’’
APThe Badger family home in Stamford was destroyed by an early morning fire.
Badger’s $1.7 million Victorian home in Stamford, Conn., went up in smoke in the early hours of Christmas morning. Badgers’ parents Lomer Johnson, 71, and Pauline Johnson, 69, perished in the tragic blaze.
A smouldering bucket of embers left in a hallway sparked the fire.
Badger, 47, a former Calvin Klein art director, recalled how thick the black smoke was that morning as rescuers rushed her away from the burning house.
“My teeth were black and my mouth was black from the smoke,’’ the sobbing Badger said.
“They took me away quickly because they were worried about smoke inhalation. Evidently, something can happen to you, [so] they said I had to go right away.”
Badger also talks with Lauer about how the blaze could have started. Authorities have blamed the fire on a bag of fireplace ashes discarded in a mudroom by Badger’s friend, Michael Borcina, but Badger disagrees with that theory.
“I don’t believe that the ashes started the fire,” she told Lauer.
“The wind blew ashes out onto the hearth, and so we were cleaning up,” Badger explained. “I watched him take them with his hand, the shovel, and put ‘em into the bag. And then take his — I watched him put his hands in the bag ... to make sure that there's nothing on fire in the bag.”
“And you watched him do that?” Lauer asked.
“Oh yeah,” Badger said.
Badger and Borcina managed to escape the blaze. Badger said she does not blame Borcina for starting the fire or doing anything negligent.
In the interview, Badger also talks with Lauer about how she’s been coping since Christmas Day.
“A day at a time,” she said. “I mean, there’s really no way — every day I wake up and I have to remember, you know? So every day I have to go through that day. And then another day starts. So really it’s just one day at a time.”
Badger and her boyfriend, contractor Michael Borcina, were the only people in the house to survive the blaze.
Madonna Badger's parents, Lomer (dressed as Santa) and Pauline Johnson were also killed in the blaze that claimed Lily (in blue), Grace (at bottom) and Sarah Badger.