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Embers confirmed as source of devastating Connecticut fire [updated]

December 27, 2011 |  2:43 pm

FireEarly reports about the cause of a Christmas Day fire that killed five people in Stamford, Conn., were confirmed on Tuesday, with a Stamford fire marshal saying the blaze appears to have started with embers left in a bucket in the family mudroom.

The embers reportedly had been left there only hours earlier by the owner of the house, Madonna Badger, and a friend, Michael Borcina, who had been helping renovate the home. They had spent the evening wrapping gifts in front of the fire and had cleaned out the fireplace afterward.

The resulting fire moved quickly through the old three-story structure. Badger and her friend escaped, but the blaze killed Badger's three daughters and her parents. 

The tragedy has become all the more heartbreaking as details have emerged over the past two days. It appears Badger's father died while trying to reach one of the girls. His body was found just outside her window; her body was on the other side.


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-- Geraldine Baum in New York

Photo: Firefighter Nick Tamburro pays respects outside the home that burned in Stamford, Conn. Credit: Jessica Hill / Associated Press