Entries in ABC News Radio (3)


Fire on Christmas Morning Kills Family of Ad Exec in Conn.

WABC-TV New York(STAMFORD, Conn.) -- Three young girls and their grandparents died in a three-alarm house fire in Stamford, Conn., early Christmas morning as the girls’ mother desperately tried to save them, authorities said.

The mother of the girls was fashion consultant and advertising executive Madonna Badger, who created the Mark Wahlberg Calvin Klein underwear ads.

Badger and her boyfriend, a contractor who had been doing work on the five-bedroom house, managed to escape from the first floor. Badger climbed onto the roof, desperately trying to break a bedroom window, but the flames had spread too quickly, Stamford Police Sgt. Paul Guzda told ABC News.

Two of the girls were 7-year-old twins, and their older sister was 10 years old, according to police.

Both Badger and her boyfriend were hospitalized with burn injuries.

Relatives said Badger had been recently divorced and moved from New York City to the affluent suburb of Stamford and renovated a $1.7 million Victorian home for her family.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I tell you — to get that call in the early morning hours, to hear that there’s a fatal fire, that’s bad enough. But then when you hear it on Christmas morning, that three little children like this perished in a fire … it’s beyond words,” Guzda said.

“There probably has not been a worse Christmas Day in the city of Stamford,” said Mayor Michael Pavia.

Officials said the fire started at about 5 a.m. and that smoke was still present at the scene as firefighters surveyed the area at 9:30 a.m.

A neighbor said he woke up to the sound of screaming, only to see the house engulfed in flames, ABC News New York station WABC-TV reported.

“It was a male voice, and it was just, ‘help, help me,’” neighbor Charles Mangano said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The damage was so extensive that the house had to be leveled.

“It will be a number of days before we actually find out how this occurred and what happened,” said Stamford Fire Chief Antonio Conte.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Exclusive: Return to Normal 'Many Months' Away, Missouri Gov. Says

Julie Denesha/Getty Images(JOPLIN, Mo.) -- The death toll from a vicious tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri, has risen to at least 122 as searchers claw through rubble hoping to find survivors.

The search for survivors is gaining new urgency with the forecast of another storm bearing down on the city with the threat of more tornadoes.

The massive Joplin tornado was rated as an EF-5, the strongest classification with winds greater than 200 mph. The nearly mile-wide funnel touched down at 5:41 p.m. CT Sunday and blasted a six mile wide path through the city and left trapped survivors crying out for help.

In an interview with ABC News Radio, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said the Tuesday morning sunrise gave crews a boost, but also a dose of reality.

"Over these last two dark and windy and rainy days, everybody's been focused, kind of looking," the governor told ABC News. "They can only see three feet in front of them. That's where they've been working. This morning, as the sun rose and you see the sun on this devastation, you realize it's going to be many, many months before this is back to normal."

Asked whether he thinks rescue teams will be able to pull any more survivors from the devastation, Nixon said, "We still think there's a chance."

"We've got two sectors we're trying to clear…We had seventeen folks that were saved yesterday. We're hoping that we can dig out some others that are in the bottom of some apartment complexes," the governor said.

President Obama said he plans to visit the twister-torn area on Sunday after he returns from his trip to Europe.

"Knowing that the full power of FEMA and the federal government will be here to assist us is a calming influence," Nixon said.

Donate to the Tornado Relief Effort

To make a donation to the American Red Cross' Disaster Relief, visit its online donation page. You can also call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

To donate to the United Way, visit its online donation page.

The Salvation Army's emergency disaster services teams are helping to feed residents and first responders in Joplin, Reading, Kan., and parts of Minnesota affected by the storms. To donate to the The Salvation Army's efforts, visit and click on the donation page. You can call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and donors can text "GIVE" to 80888 to make a $10 donation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Remembering Challenger: 25 Years Ago Shuttle Exploded After Liftoff

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) -- Just before noon on Jan. 28, 1986, people watched with excitement as the space shuttle Challenger lifted off from its Florida launch pad.

“It was 36 degrees at launch time, colder than NASA had ever launched a shuttle,” recalls ABC News correspondent Vic Ratner, who was on scene 25 years ago to broadcast the launch live to a national radio audience.

“Scraping the ice off my rental car that morning,” Ratner says, “I remember thinking, ‘They probably won't fly today. It's too cold.’”

But Challenger did launch.

“Pieces of ice tumble off as the coldest space shuttle launch ever gets underway,” Ratner announced on the 1986 broadcast. “Challenger seems to shake herself free of the ice and goes. All five rocket engines burning,” he said.

Seventy-three seconds later, the shuttle exploded.

“Not a word from mission control,” Ratner said. “Everybody here is open-mouthed.”

“Where is the shuttle, Vic?” asked Ratner’s partner, Bob Walker. “Can you see it?”

“Something has gone seriously wrong,” Ratner said.

All seven astronauts on board were killed.

One of its crew members was Christa McAuliffe, a school teacher from New Hampshire who had won a national competition to become the first teacher in space. The goal was to boost interest in space exploration among American school children, many of whom were watching the Challenger's launch live on television or in person.

A commission later concluded that NASA was too complacent that morning about the risks facing the shuttle and its astronauts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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