What to Know
- The 2011 Christmas fire killed 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah Badger, 9-year-old Lily Badger, and their maternal grandparents
- Their mother, Madonna Badger, and her then-boyfriend Michael Borcina, escaped
- The girls' father, Matthew Badger, sued on their behalf, saying the city failed to properly inspect renovations at the home
The former boyfriend of Madonna Badger, the New York advertising executive whose parents and three young daughters died in a horrific fire that consumed their $1.7 million Connecticut home on Christmas Day 2011, has died.
Michael Borcina, 58, who was also the main contractor renovating the Victorian home at the time of the fire, died "suddenly" on Oct. 3, according to a brief obituary on the website of the Long Island funeral home holding his services.
The obituary lists no cause of death, but describes Borcina as the "beloved brother of Mitch and Matthew." The Hartford Courant reports he had cancer. According to the Connecticut Post, Borcina's attorney, Robert Laney, said he's "not sure ever recovered" from that Christmas day blaze in Stamford that took out an entire family.
Laney did not immediately respond to NBC 4 New York's call for comment.
Badger's 9-year-old daughter Lily and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah, along with their maternal grandparents, died in the fire. She and her then-boyfriend Borcina escaped. Authorities said a bag of fireplace ashes left in a mudroom bin sparked the blaze. Borcina, as the contractor, was later accused in a lawsuit of contributing with other defendants to make the house a "firetrap," including failing to install a smoke detection system during the renovation work.
He was deposed several times and originally told investigators he had put the ashes in the mudroom after feeling them to make sure they were no longer hot. Later, though, he testified that Badger had placed the ashes in the room and he had lied to protect her. Badger disputed that statement.
The dead children's father, Matthew Badger, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in July 2012 against Borcina, his company Tiberias Construction of New York City, the city of Stamford and others. Three years later, Borcina agreed to settle part of that by paying Matthew Badger $5 million. Matthew Badger, who started an educational development foundation in memory of his three daughters, died in February. His cause of death was not released.
Visitation and a religious service for Borcina will be held Wednesday afternoon and evening at at Fives Patchogue Funeral Home on East Main Street, followed by burial at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram.