$5 Million Settlement in Stamford Fire

A fatal fire that claimed the lives of five people in Stamford, Connecticut on Christmas morning, 2011 is in the news with word that one of the defendants who was sued for wrongful death has agreed to settle by paying $5 million.

Michael Borcina, a contractor who was in the process of renovating the large Victorian at the time of the fire, was dating the owner of the house that burned. He was staying in the home the night of the fire.

Stamford fire officials believe the fire began after Borcina left fireplace ashes in a paper bag in a mudroom in the rear of the building. That fact is hotly disputed by Borcina and the owner, Madonna Badger, who personally ensured the ashes were cold when they were left.

Ms. Badger’s three daughters, 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah Badger, and Lily Badger, age 9, along with her parents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, were died in the fire.

Matthew Badger, the girl’s father, filed suit against Borcina, his construction company, Tiberias Construction, and the city of Stamford for wrongful death and spoliation of evidence. Borcina is the first of the defendants to settle.

Madonna Badger’s suit against the city for spoliation and destruction of what was left of her home is still in litigation. She claims the city tore the house down and had the debris hauled away before anyone could determine what actually caused the fire.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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