Hundreds turned up at a Manhattan church this morning for the funeral of three young sisters who perished in a tragic Christmas fire.
Madonna Badger, a well-known New York City fashion executive, and Matthew Badger, who are separated, broke down in tears as the caskets carrying their daughters were taken into St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue.
The funeral began at 10:30 a.m. and was open to the public.
The Badgers’ three daughters, Lily, 9, and 7-year-old twins, Sarah and Grace, all died in an accidental fire at Madonna Badger’s house in Stamford, CT on Christmas morning. Madonna Badger’s parents, Pauline, 69, and Lomer Johnson, 71, also perished in the flames.
Badger and her boyfriend, Michael Borcina, were at the home as well, but they were the only two to survive the blaze.
The fire began from embers Badger and Borcina removed from the fireplace after they were up late wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve, investigators said. Borcina removed the ashes as the girls requested, according to reports, so Santa wouldn’t get burned when he came down the chimney.
However, the still smoldering embers started a fire so large it burned the entire estate — and killed five people. The home, which was being renovated at the time, was wired for smoke detectors and alarms, but they hadn’t been installed yet, according to the New York Post.
The grandparents and the three girls will be buried at Woodlawn cemetery in a private ceremony.