Ashes Were Removed for Santa in Fatal Connecticut Fire: Officials

The smoldering embers blamed in the Stamford fire had been dumped out of the fireplace so the children wouldn't worry about Santa getting down the chimney

By John Christoffersen
|  Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012  |  Updated 8:25 AM EDT
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Family of Fatal Fire Speaks Out

Lomer Johnson, pictured dressed as Santa Claus, died with his wife and three grandchildren in the fast-moving blaze.

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Audio Tapes in Stamford Blaze

The Stamford Fire and Rescue Department has released the tapes of radio transmissions from the fatal Christmas morning fire in which three children and their two grandparents died. Tom Llamas has more on the dramatic back-and-forth between firefighters.

Fireplace Embers Caused Deadly Blaze: Officials

A Christmas Day fire that killed three children and their grandparents was caused by discarded fireplace embers left in a first-floor mudroom, officials said Tuesday. Pei-Sze Cheng has more from Stamford, Conn.
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Officials say smoldering embers blamed for a fire that killed three girls and their grandparents had been taken out of a fireplace so the children would not worry about Santa Claus coming down the chimney.

Two officials briefed on the investigation say the ashes were removed out of concerns for Santa. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the investigation is still under way.

Authorities say embers in a bag of discarded ashes started the blaze Christmas morning in Stamford that killed 10-year-old Lilly and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah Badger and their grandparents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson.

The girls' mother, Madonna Badger, escaped the fire along with a friend, Michael Borcina.

A funeral service will be held Thursday in New York City for the girls.

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