Contractor will testify in lawsuit over fatal Christmas fire


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A contractor who initially took the blame for accidentally starting a fire in Connecticut that killed his girlfriend’s three children and her parents on Christmas morning in 2011 will testify in a wrongful-death lawsuit and turn over documents, his lawyer said Thursday.

A state judge in Hartford called a hearing Tuesday after the New York City contractor, Michael Borcina, failed to turn over documents for the lawsuit proceedings, missed a deposition and appeared to go missing. Borcina’s lawyer, Robert Laney, said Borcina had not disappeared, but declined to elaborate.

The fire at a Victorian home in Stamford owned by the children’s mother, New York advertising executive Madonna Badger, killed 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah Badger, 9-year-old Lily Badger and their maternal grandparents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson.

At the time, Badger and Borcina were dating and he was renovating the home. They both escaped the flames.

It’s not clear when Borcina will turn over documents related to the renovation or when he will testify at a deposition.

Borcina initially said he put a bag of fireplace ashes in a mudroom where officials said the fire began after he and Badger finished wrapping Christmas presents. He said he ran his hands through the ashes to make sure they weren’t hot. He later testified at a deposition in the lawsuit that Badger put the ashes in the mudroom.

The children’s father, Matthew Badger, filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Borcina, his construction company, other contractors and the city of Stamford.

Borcina settled claims against him in the lawsuit for $5 million in December 2014. He was accused of contributing with the other defendants to make the house a “firetrap,” including failing to install smoke detectors during construction.

Claims remain pending against other defendants. The lawsuit says city officials knew or should have known that Borcina served as the home’s general contractor but didn’t have a state home improvement contractor’s license. Stamford officials have denied any wrongdoing.

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