A man who lost his three daughters in a deadly house fire on Christmas was left “absolutely distraught” by the loss, but now, six months after the tragedy, he wants their lives to make a difference.
Matthew Badger of Manhattan, New York, was driven by police to the Stamford, Connecticut home hours after it had been torn apart and the flames extinguished from the 5:00 a.m. fire. That day he had found out that his daughters, 10-year-old Lily and 7-year-old twins Sarah and Grace had been killed in the fire along with their grandparents, 71-year-old Lomer Johnson and 69-year-old Pauline. Mayor Michael Pavia said that, “There probably has not been a worse Christmas day in the city of Stamford.”
Matthew’s ex-wife, Madonna Badger, was also present at the Stamford house fire along with boyfriend (then-acquaintance) Michael Borcina who was doing renovation work on the house. Borcina left a bag of fireplace ash in another room, which is thought to be how the fire started. Madonna and Borcina survived, and prosecutors decided against pressing charges. Badger has hired a private investigator and is exploring his options regarding a civil lawsuit against the city and its officials.
“They were going to do something in this world,” Badger told People. “I love them so much. I said, ‘I’m going to do it for them.’”
What he’s talking about is the Lily Sarah Grace Fund, a nonprofit focused on bringing art to underfunded public school systems. All three of his girls suffered from dyslexia, and found creative refuge in the arts.
So far, his fund has raised $530,000 and funded 400 public schools art projects. “It is giving me purpose,” Badger says. “I’m in the process of making Lily, Sarah and Grace make a mark on the planet and help people and let people know how wonderful they were.”