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Entries in Housefire (4)

Tuesday
Dec272011

Connecticut Christmas Fire: Fireplace Embers Caused Blaze

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(STAMFORD, Conn.) -- The Christmas morning fire at a Connecticut home that killed three girls and their grandparents was started by fireplace embers that had been cleared out of the fireplace and put in either a mud room attached to the house or a trash enclosure next to the mud room, fire officials said Tuesday.

It is unclear whether there were smoke alarms in the house, which was in the middle of an extensive renovation.

The fire began sometime after 3 a.m. while the occupants of the house were asleep.

"The fire entered the house quickly and spread through the first floor and up," Stamford Chief Fire Marshal Barry Callahan told reporters at a news conference.

The fire quickly engulfed the home and neighbors called 911 at 4:52 a.m. to report the fire. The fire department responded within six minutes, but was unable to rescue the five people trapped in the house.

Lomer Johnson, his wife Pauline Johnson and their three granddaughters, Lily, 10, and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah, were killed in the fire. The couple's daughter Madonna Badger, the mother of the girls, survived along with her friend and contractor Michael Borcina.

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec272011

Connecticut Christmas Fire: Man Died Trying to Save Granddaughter

Lomer Johnson, dressed as Santa Claus. ABC NewsUPDATE: The Christmas morning fire at a Connecticut home that killed three girls and their grandparents was started by fireplace embers that had been cleared out of the fireplace and put in either a mud room attached to the house or a trash enclosure next to the mud room, fire officials said Tuesday. It is unclear whether there were smoke alarms in the house, which was in the middle of an extensive renovation.

(STAMFORD, Conn.) -- The grandfather who died in a Connecticut Christmas fire that claimed the lives of five people tried desperately to rescue one of his granddaughters as the house was being engulfed by flames.

The grandfather, Lomer Johnson, made it out a third floor window and onto the roof before being overcome by fumes.

"The grandfather was found just outside the structure on a small roof covered in debris and inside the window we found one of the children," Stamford Fire Chief Antonio Conte told ABC’s Good Morning America. "It appears that the grandfather has one of the children with him, tried to exit the structure but was overcome and passed away. And the little one passed away just inside the window."

Johnson was one of five who died in the blaze. His wife Pauline and their three granddaughters, Lily, 10, and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah, were also killed.

The only survivors were the girls' mother, Madonna Badger, and her friend, Michael Borcina, a contractor who had been working on the home. They were able to escape from the first floor of the five-bedroom home. Badger and Borcina were hospitalized with burn injuries.

The three-alarm fire started at about 5 a.m. on Christmas.

Though reports have said the fire was started by the embers of yule logs, Conte said that the official cause of the fire has not yet been handed down from the fire marshal's office.

The $1.7 million Victorian home was torn down Monday after the fire department deemed the destroyed structure unsafe.

Lomer had recently fulfilled a life-long dream of playing Santa at Saks Fifth Avenue, at the urging of his oldest granddaughter. A few years ago, he retired as a safety and security director and he and his wife moved to the area to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren.

Badger was a fashion consultant and advertising executive, who created the Mark Wahlberg Calvin Klein underwear ads. 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.

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

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec262011

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

Tuesday
Oct052010

Tennessee Family's Home Burns to the Ground as Firefighters Stand and Watch

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(SOUTH FULTON, Tenn.) -- A Tennessee family's failure to pay a $75 fee stopped firefighters from responding immediately last week as a home burned to the ground.

When firefighters did finally arrive, they stood watching as flames engulfed Gene Cranick's Obion County home.  They refused to help because Cranick had not paid an annual "pay to spray" subscription fee.

"I just forgot to pay my $75," homeowner Gene Cranick said.  "I did it last year, the year before. ... It slipped my mind."

The city of South Fulton charges that $75 fire protection fee to rural residents who live outside the city limits. When a household has not paid the fee, firefighters are required by law to not respond.

"We have to follow the rules and the ordinances set forth to us, and that's exactly what we do," said Jeff Vowell, South Fulton city manager.

In fact, in Cranick's case, officials said that fire trucks didn't even show up until a neighbor who did pay the subscription fee called 911 to protect his home from the growing fire.

It's infuriating to Cranick, who is now left to clean up the charred remains of decades' worth of family heirlooms and other belongings.

"My neighbor called [the fire department], saying whatever it takes, we want them to put it out, we'll pay $500," said Cranick.  "They told us, 'It's too late.'"

South Fulton has had the "pay to spray" policy in place for more than 20 years, and the fees -- which often cover police services, too -- are fairly common in rural areas.  Without implementing complex tax arrangements to cover cash-strapped city budgets, there are simply few other options.

"If the city starts fighting fires in the homes of people outside the city who don't pay, why would anyone pay?" said Jacqueline Byers with the National Association of Counties.

Still, it was small comfort to the Cranick family.  Gene Cranick's son, Tim Cranick, was reportedly so upset by the fire department's actions that he went to the station and assaulted the fire chief.  The younger Cranick was arrested and released on $5,000 bond, charged with aggravated assault.

"I don't know that there is a good situation when things like this happen," said Vowell.  "It's regrettable. Tough for everyone involved."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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