Officials now say that the Christmas morning fire that killed New York ad executive Madonna Badger’s three daughters and elderly parents in Stamford, Connecticut were the result of still-burning embers from their Yule log.
The fire, which damaged the house so extensively that the city razed the building in the wake of the investigation, appears to have been touched off by the embers of the log that Badger and friend Michael Borchina had burning as they wrapped Christmas presents until 3 am. Badger and Borchina reportedly collected the embers in a fire bucket and set them outside, but they were somehow blown back into the house and touched off the fire.
Badger’s father, Lomer Johnson — who, until Christmas Eve, had been playing Santa Claus at Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan — reportedly attempted to rescue one of his granddaughters from the blaze, but both were apparently overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning before they could escape the fully-engulfed house.
Watch the video, which first aired on ABC News on December 27, 2011, below: