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Smoke Inhalation Blamed in Stamford Fire Deaths

STAMFORD, Conn. — The state medical examiner released the cause of death for the five people in the fire that took place Christmas Day on Shippan Avenue in Stamford.

Pauline Johnson and her three granddaughters, Lilly Badger, 10, and twins Sarah and Grace Badger, 7, died from smoke inhalation, a representative in the examiner’s office said. Lomer Johnson, Pauline’s husband and the girls’ grandfather, died primarily of blunt head and neck trauma, with smoke inhalation and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease as secondary reasons, the representative said. All of Johnson’s injuries were due to the fire.

It is believed that Johnson had fallen through a window attempting to save one of the girls, said Antonio Conte, acting fire chief for Stamford. Johnson’s body was found just outside one of the windows and the girl’s body was found inside on a stack of books, Conte said.

Madonna Badger, the mother of girls and the daughter of the Lomers, survived the fire as did her friend Michael Borcina. Badger and Borcina made it outside and helped direct fire personnel to the others, but the magnitude of the fire made rescue attempts unsuccessful, Conte said.

Badger was released from Stamford Hospital on Monday, and Borcina remained in the hospital in fair condition.

The fire started after 3 a.m. Sunday when Michael Borcina, a friend of homeowner Madonna Badger, incorrectly disposed of embers from the fire place, fire marshals said. The house was demolished Monday, and the debris was being removed Wednesday by AMEC Carting from Norwalk.

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