Prosecutors announced today that no criminal charges will be filed related to the fatal Stanford house fire that killed three little girls and their grandparents on Christmas. Officials ruled that the fire was started by embers in a bag of discarded fireplace ashes— prosecutors decided the girls' mother Madonna Bader, and her boyfriend and home contractor, Michael Borcina, took some precautions: "It stretches belief to think that they would consciously disregard the danger and go to sleep, much less that they would disregard any danger to the Badger children or Mrs. Badger's parents," said Chief State's Attorney David Cohen.
Stamford police concluded in their investigation that the fire began after Borcina cleaned out the fireplace shortly after 3 a.m., placing embers in a bag and leaving them inside a new mudroom, or just outside in an enclosed trash bin. The three girls, 9-year-old Lily and 7-year-old twins Sarah and Grace, and Badger's mother, Pauline Johnson, died from smoke inhalation. Badger's father Lomer Johnson died from blunt head trauma after he fell outside a second-floor window. Badger and Borcina were the only ones to survive.
Last week, Badger filed a notice to sue city officials for $3 million for property damage, civil rights violations and the intentional destruction of evidence after they tore down her 116-year-old home the day after the tragic blaze. Badger's lawyer said she suffered personal injuries and extreme emotional and mental anguish, and that she would have been able to recover compensation from "responsible parties" if the house had not been torn down.
In February, Matthew Badger—the father of the three girls who died in the fire—filed a notice of intent to sue city officials who he claimed were negligent in inspecting construction work at the home. He also made moves to possibly file a "wrongful-death lawsuit" against Borcina.