Fire tragedy in Stamford

December 27, 2011 2:42:55 PM PST
Anyone with a fireplace knows the dance. You want to go to bed, and the fire's still burning. So what to do?

There's no great answer, other than stay up till the fire is out. Or make dang sure the fire isn't roaring. Try to calm it and let it burn where it is supposed to be burn, in the fireplace.

There are a few things NOT to do; don't feed the fire, and never ever never ever take the hot embers out of the fireplace and put it in another part of the house.

That, apparently, is what the companion of the well-known advertising executive Madonna Badger did at her Long Island Sound waterfront house in Stamford, Connecticut on Christmas morning. He moved some embers out of the fireplace about 3 a.m. and into a bucket near the back of the home.

Fire officials believe the embers from those embers reached the wall of the home, and then ignited.

Were there working smoke detectors inside to alert Ms. Badger, her companion (who was also the contractor on the house as it underwent renovations), her parents, and her three young children? Authorities tonight say no smoke detector was "activated," which means that if there were smoke detectors in the house, they weren't working. Were they not connected? (The house was under renovation.) Did they malfunction? Were there no smoke detectors? We just don't know yet for sure.

It is a horrible and horribly sad story, and it's hard to imagine the sorrow of Ms. Badger and of her ex-husband. More than 70 firefighters were called to fight the fire, and try to save the lives of the kids and grandparents. The fire chief this afternoon said that many of the firefighters whom he called in to brief today broke down during their discussions about what happened.

And during the briefing another fascinating bit of information came out: There had not yet been a certificate of occupancy had been issued for some of the bedrooms that were getting renovated. The house was clearly under renovation, there was scaffolding all around, and several of the outside walls were covered in insulation. That insulation was not yet shingled. And authorities say portions of the house were not yet legally ready for anyone to be staying there.

As for what happened after the fire started, the fire chief said this afternoon that the three young children sleeping on the third floor had made it down to the second floor. But they panicked, and ran back upstairs, he said. And that's where they died.

A series of bad decisions and unfortunate events. And now 5 people are dead, and a family destroyed. We'll be in Stamford with the latest, at 11.

Also at 11, the calm weather is about to come to an end. But and it's an "alas" if you're pining for real winter weather it doesn't include snow. Just lots of rain, says our Meteorologist Lee Goldberg. He's tracking the storm tonight in his AccuWeather forecast.

And there's a reason prices are dropping on those portable GPS devices. That's because you can now get GPS on smart phones or at least download a GPS app on your smart phone.

So which are the best apps? Consumer Reports tonight conducts the tests.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Laura Behnke (in for Rob Powers) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho (in for Sade Baderinwa) and me, tonight at 11.


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