Last month, a settlement was reached between the city of Stamford and the “estate of the three young girls killed in a 2011 Christmas Day fire,” but details of the settlement have only just been released. It turns out, the city will pay nearly $6.65 million to the “estate of Lily Badger, 9, and twin sisters Sarah and Grace, 7.”
The settlement brings closure to a lawsuit filed by Matthew Badger, the father of the deceased girls. He filed the lawsuit against the “city and several contractors who worked on the home in 2012,” and “had settled against all of the other parties for about $8 million.” In the lawsuit, he argued that the city was reckless by giving Michael Borcina, “who had no contractor’s license, a building permit.” He also argued that “the city approved plans that didn’t include smoke detectors in the girls’ third-floor bedrooms, which he said was a statutory requirement.” Michael Borcina was the boyfriend of the children’s mother, Madonna Badger. Both escaped the fire.
Another issue the lawsuit raised was the “city’s decision to demolish the house two days after the fire without telling Madonna Badger,” the owner of the house. According to the lawsuit, within mere days of the fire, the “entire house was carted away and destroyed, prohibiting any private investigators or insurance investigators from looking into the cause of the fire.” Two fire marshals acknowledged in dispositions “that the swift demolition of the house and destruction of debris made further investigation impossible.” As a result, the lawsuit also “named the city Director of Operations Ernie Orgera and Chief Building Official Robert DeMarco as defendants and alleged that they conspired to illegally demolish the house to spare the city from legal liability.”
But how was the deadly fire started in the first place? Well, that’s what a trial that was scheduled to begin May 24th was going to look into. Stamford fire investigators believed that ashes placed from the home’s fireplace to the mudroom caused the fire. It is believed that they were placed there by Borcina before he went to bed that fateful night, but in “one of many depositions Borcina said that he lied to protect Madonna Badger and that she placed the ashes in the mudroom.”
Unfortunately, since the lawsuit was filed, Matthew Badger has passed away and his brother, Sherman Badger, will take on the responsibility as administrator of the estate. But how will that money be split up? According to court documents, “$2.5 million will go towards legal fees leaving the estate with about $3.87 million. The city also will pay $250,000 to the Stamford chapter of the Girl Scouts of America, the charity chosen by administrator Sherman Badger.”