2267 Shippan Ave.
Rita Papazian
Published:  Feb 3, 2012

The 2010 real estate listing for 2267 Shippan Ave,. Stamford is still on the
Internet. While the house sold on Dec. 7, of that year, a visitor to the real estate
site can see photographs of the 1895 Victorian home that overlooks Long island
Sound. The photo montage presents an inviting, comfortable and homey view of
the home’s interior and exterior. One can envision sipping ice tea or lemonade in
summer on the veranda with its waterviews or romping on the lush green lawn.
Who could imagine in its widest imagination that a little over a year later the
family that moved into that home would experience one of the greatest
tragedies a person could face – the loss of children and parents to a fatal fast-
moving fire.

Today, the Internet shows scores of photographs of the Victorian house
charred and then demolished into a heap of gray debris

According to news reports this past week, Madonna Badger attempted
suicide days after she and her estranged husband buried their three young girls,
7-year old twins and their 9-year-old sister. Badger also lost her parents in the fire
that ignited early Christmas morning. She survived along with her boyfriend
contractor Michael Borcina, head of Tiberias Construction, the company that was
renovating the Victorian house.

While we have spent five years following the tragic deaths of members of
another Connecticut family, the Petits of Cheshire in which a wife and two
daughters were murdered in a home invasion, we now follow the developing
details in the wake of the house fire in Stamford in which investigators and the
state’s attorney’s office are expected to release a report that should indicate
whether or not charges will be filed in the tragic fatal fire, allegedly started when
Borcina placed embers from a fireplace fire in a container in or near a back

Madonna Badger and her husband, Matthew, who were in the process of a
divorce, had been living apart and media reports Borcina, not only was Madonna

Badger’s contractor, but her boyfriend as well. It was indeed eerie to see his hand
placed on her shoulder while she fell grieving onto the shoulder of her estranged
husband as the distraught parents watched the caskets of their three children
brought into a Fifth Avenue church for funeral services.

This tragedy leaves us with so many questions as we read reports of the
fire. Of course, as someone who only knows the circumstances of this tragedy
from what one reads in the newspapers and online, still I and others wonder
what Madonna Badger “was really thinking” in the way she allowed this Borcina
to be such an intimate part of her family, when she was not legally divorced and
had three young daughters. The young family had not lived in the house that
long. How comfortable were the little girls with a man staying over in their house
that was not their father?

The tragic fire gives all of us cause to pause and to take inventory, in all
aspects in our own homes. Reports indicate there were no operable smoke
alarms. Do our own houses have operable smoke alarms? Reports indicate that
the fire may have been caused by the smoldering ash that was left in or near the
house and then ignited the blaze. How doe w dispose of our own ashes from a
fire. How clean is our chimney?

What exactly were the sleeping arrangements? Reports indicate that the
twins were sleeping on the third floor and Badger, her boyfriend, oldest daughter
and her parents were sleeping on the second. If this is true, I question the sound
judgment in having two 7-year-olds sleep on a separate floor from a parent.

On the Internet we can hear 911 calls from neighbors reporting the fire, but
none from Badger or Borcina. Did one of them call 911? Was there a cell phone
near the bed?

Also, how well did the girls know Borcina? Reports indicate that he was
leading the twins to safety when they allegedly broke away from him and ran off.
If this is true, would they have done this with their own parents? One twin was
found near her grandmother.

When I discuss my questions with one of my adult daughters, she responds
that I am no one to comment about the circumstances within the Badger
household. Like Badger, I got divorced when I was in my 40s and yes, I did not
waste time in dating men. When you are in your early 40s, working full-time,
raising young children and going through a divorce, it is no surprise that a woman
would latch on to another man. As we have read, Madonna Badger was a very
successful ad exeutive now heading her own company with high-profile clients
like Vera Wang, who along with Calvin Klein attended the funerals for the five
fire victims. Add to Badger’s responsibilities, the fact that she moved out of
Manhattan last yea, bought a home in Stamford and enrolled her children in a
school in Westchester County. It would be interesting to know when she took up
with Borcina –before or after buying the house.

So we as women, can understand why she had a boyfriend in her home
before she was legally divorced, but we women need to apply some of the
perspective and thinking we use in our professional lives to our personal lives. fI
admit; I carry a lot of guilt on my own shoulders. Fortunately, there have been
no tragedies, but there were times, I could have put my children and myself in
harm’s way

Then, there are the questions swirling around Borcina’s track record as a
contractor. Reports question whether or not he has a current license to work in
Connecticut and whether or not he has met his financial obligations to former

A big question is why the rush to demolish the house the day after the fire?
Who made the decision? Who signed the paper work? And what may have been
covered up in the debris? 

© Copyright 2012 Rita Papazian All rights reserved.