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Mother of Stamford Christmas Day Fire Victims to Sue City

Madonna Badger, who also lost her own parents in the fire, intends to sue Stamford, saying city officials intentionally destroyed evidence that would earn her compensation for property loss as well as emotional and mental distress.

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The mother of at their Stamford home intends to sue the city for property damage and for intentionally destroying evidence that would substantiate further compensation related to emotional and mental distress, according to legal documents filed by a Massachusetts-based attorney.

According to Statutory Notice of Claim filed with the by Rehoboth, MA-based Corso Law LLC, Madonna Badger as a result of the suffered more than $3 million in property damage, as well as "personal injury and civil rights violations arising from and as a result of the nelgigent and otherwise wrongful conduct of the City of Stamford."

The notice says specifically that city officials who the home at destroyed and removed the home and "its , appliances, meters, and other contents" resulting in "the intentional spoilation of evidence and the deprivation of remedies otherwise available to the claimant."

The notice says Badger "also sustained personal injuries, suffered extreme emotional distress and mental anguish for which she would be entitled to recover compensation from the responsible parties but for the intentional spoilation of critical and relevant evidence at the direction of the city."

The notice names two Stamford officials specifically: Chief Building Official Robert DeMarco and Director of Operations Ernie Orgera.

Stamford Director of Legal Affairs Joseph Capalbo was not immediately available for comment. Frank C. Corso, who filed the notice, declined to comment when reached by Patch, citing pending litigation.

The Stamford Christmas Day fire made international headlines and . Badger reportedly about one month after the tragedy.

Badger's notice follows a similar notice filed by her children's father, Matthew Badger , which was filed on his own behalf and on behalf of the children, Sarah, Grace and Lillian.

Madonna Badger's notice states: "Madonna Badger's damages arising from the perils of the fire, including the negligent infliction of emotional distress she endured while in the zone of danger and while attempting to rescue her children and parents are continuous and permanent."

The City of Stamford has already any action brought against it relating to the fire, including .

The complaint from Madonna Badger was filed May 29, 2012. Madonna also lost her mother and father, Pauline and Lomer Johnson, in the fire.

Here is a timeline of events from Sunday, Dec. 25:

3:00 a.m. - Shortly before or after this time, an unidentified resident of 2267 Shippan Ave., according to Stamford fire marshals, tossed a yule log that had been burning in the home's fireplace into either a trash enclosure or a mudroom on the first floor.

4:40-4:52 a.m. - A wood ember ignited at an unknown point during this time frame and spread quickly through the first floor and then to the upper floors. Homeowner Madonna Badger and her companion Michael Borcina escaped from the home and neighbors alarmed by Badger's cries for help called emergency response at 4:52 a.m.

4:58 a.m. - 's first team arrived at 2267 Shippan Ave.

"Firefighters from Engine 4 used a portable 24-foot ladder to reach a second floor roof and then climbed scaffolding to get into the home’s third floor to begin search and rescue efforts for the three children and two adults," Stamford firefighter Brendan Keatley wrote in a statement to Patch.

This team, led by SFRD captain Mark Shannon, were repelled by the heat and the heavy flame on the third floor.

5:00 a.m. - A second team of firefighters arrive and moved to extinguish the fire, which was out of control, according to Stamford fire investigators. "Forty six firefighters utilizing 12 pieces of fire apparatus" responded to the fire, Keatley said.

5-5:10 a.m. - The first response team left the home and Borcina informed them that the children may have already gone down to the second floor. The team again tried to enter and were again pushed out by the fire and flame within the home.

Another SFRD team arrived to assist with the flames, however, the possibility of rescue was already gone.

DJ McAneny (Editor) May 31, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Over on Facebook, there's an interesting conversation going on. Christopher O'Brien said: Looks like a sad money grab by a lawyer in a very unfortunate circumstance. This isn't going to help her at all. How pathetic
DJ McAneny (Editor) May 31, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Rena Masone Field said: I can't blame her. Stamford was wrong to tear down the house prematurely. They could have arranged to have it guarded against trespassing until a proper investigation was completed. At the same time, as a Stamford resident I know that it is the rest of us who will be paying the price in our taxes, services and education for the rest of our children. This is very discouraging as it is expensive enough to live here and the weak economy doesn't help.
James Ball June 01, 2012 at 10:09 AM
My heart goes out to Ms Badger and the family for this tragic loss, the family has been in my prayers, I hope some day she can find some peace. As far as this law suit, not sure what will happen on this issue, will it help them move on? James Ball
Beverley Makulis June 01, 2012 at 05:15 PM
She is a disgrace trying to profit off the tragic death of her children . She is also an idiot- no working smoke detectors . Initial reports said the fireplace debris was placed in a brown paper bag. Moron. Oh.. And this great mom certainly saved herself didn't she... Leaving her children to die. I haven't one iota of sympathy for her or her jack ass husband who is also suing.
Sandy Bees June 03, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Madonna Badger is no doubt grieving over the loss of her family, but she needs to face personal responsibility. Her "boyfriend" was doing the renovation and he was the one who placed the cinders in an inappropriate location, hence the fire. Ms. Badger also knew there were no fire alarms in the home and she CHOSE to allow her three children to live there. What will money do to change all that? Why is the city of Stamford (and us taxpayers) responsible for her decisions and her loss? Why not sue the boyfriend??? I am so sick of people and their lawsuits. Grief is a terrible thing and so is guilt. I think she is feeling guilty and doesn't know what to do other than shift blame.
Anne-marie June 08, 2012 at 06:07 PM
My heart does break for Madonna Badger, it really does; but.... I totally agree with every word you said.
Sushi June 10, 2012 at 12:43 AM
I doubt you could find anyone with half a heart who does not feel enormous sympathy for Madonna and Matthew Badger for the loss of their three beautiful little angels, and Madonna's parents too. The City of Stamford has shouldered much of the grief that has forever changed the mood of Christmas day in that City. It's shameful to do what her lawyers are obviously advising her to do in the name of cashing in on a tragedy. Talk about biting the hands that fed you during your darkest hours. This is morally and ethically wrong on so many levels. My advice to Madonna, is to take accountability for the loss as it was a result of many bad decisions and poor judgment on her part. Many people suffer tragedies of enormous magnitude but they do not heal through lawsuits and threats of suicide. They heal by making positive changes in the world as a result, which is what Matthew Badger, the other victim in all of this, is doing. Madonna doesn't need more money she has the ability to earn much more than most of us with her talent and connections and smarts. Putting all of that to use to drum up a way to change the world and challenge yourself is what will allow her to be free one day. She may even find a way to forgive herself in the process. People feel sorry for her as no one can imagine how devastating it is to lose all that she has lost. But money is not the answer - as she said in her eulogy to her 3 angels, Love is all we have and love is the answer to loss, not lawsuits!!!
Sushi June 10, 2012 at 12:56 AM
A Yule Log - according to the timeline posted on this Patch blog, it was not merely "embers" that were thrown in the trash, it was an entire Yule Log! Even one that has burnt through to the core, would be hot, and highly ignitable, just like kindling! I did not realize it was a Yule Log. That's pretty significant and would do a lot of damage. Explains a lot and clears up a lot of how such a fire could happen from small embers - it was the discarding of a Yule Log that created the fire.
Sushi June 10, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Where is "over on facebook"? It's a pretty big place. Where specifically is this discussion over on facebook? More info please!
Shelly Boyle September 18, 2012 at 11:19 AM
It was discarding of ashes, which they thought were not hot. She watched while he "felt" the ashes. Really ridiculous as anyone who has a fireplace knows. I used to douse the ashes in the fireplace with water before I went to bed. I would then close the glass doors of the fireplace. Never removed the ashes ! I think the problem was helped by over consumption of wine that night. It led to very poor judgement about the disposal of the ashes that night.
donna beford January 29, 2013 at 11:21 PM
I can not muster up sympathy for a mother that left a bag of embers inside a home that her children and parents were in with NO FIRE ALARMS and thinks that she can sue the city of Stamford......by the way just read an article about a single mother that lost her life saving her children......shame shame shame on Madonna Badger and her criminal boyfriend.
anita March 19, 2013 at 08:44 PM
to me I have seen fire,s put out and later rekindle themselves and start again especially in wood, so to tear apart the so called scene to me was being a firefighter who was doing His job and being safe and sure, for other,s who lived on the street . A person who has a fireplace should know the dangers of wood and ashes, it is a life experiance of horror but blameing others to sue them I do not understand.

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