Acting Fire Chief Antonio Conte teared up yesterday at the scene of a house fire that killed advertising executive Madonna Badger's three children and retired parents on Christmas morning. “I’ve been on this job 38 years. It’s not an easy day,” he said. “There was so much heat and so much flame that it drove the firefighters back, they tried several times but we just couldn’t get to them.”


Badger, who founded her own company after a successful career that included the Calvin Klein Mark Walburg ads, lost her 10-year-old and 7-year-old twin daughters and her parents in the fire that consumed her 5-bedroom $1.7 million home on the Stamford waterfront. She and a male acquaintance reportedly helping with renovations escaped the fire; her husband Matthew Badger was driven by police escort from New York City after the fire on Sunday morning.

In yet another cruel twist of fate, Badger's parents, Lomer and Paula Johnson, would have celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary on December 26. Mr. Johnson, retired, had been playing Santa Claus at the Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan before heading to his daughter's for the holiday.

Watch the video, first posted by the Associated Press on December 26, 2011, below: