The city is invited today to mourn the loss of three young girls who died in a Christmas morning fire.
A public funeral for Lily Badger, 9, and her twin sisters Grace and Sarah, 7, will begin at 10:30 a.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Midtown.
The funeral comes 11 days after the three girls, along with their grandparents, died in a fire that officials said sprang from a bag of fireplace ashes — moved, reports said, when the girls were worried that Santa might be bothered coming down the chimney.
The girls’ mother, Madonna Badger, an advertising executive, and her boyfriend Michael Borcina made it out of the Stamford, Conn., home.
Badger attended a private wake yesterday at the Frank Campbell Funeral Home.
Firefighters, who attended the wake, might be some of the attendees today. A church representative said the cathedral can hold 1,200 people.
An employee at the Frank Campbell Funeral Home said the public is encouraged to attend. “It’s a terrible tragedy,” he said.
They will be buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.
Sherry Cohen, grief recovery specialist at Life After Loss Grief Recovery, said the girls’ deaths was so horrific that opening the funeral to the public allows bystanders to work through their reaction.
“It was on such a special day of the year, such a family day,” she said. “By opening it up to the people, it gives the public a chance to maybe find a little completion for their own pain.”
The family has opened a foundation for the three girls. The Other 364 Foundation will “champion compassion every day of the year,” according to www.badger familysupport.com.
Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.