The father of three girls killed in a Christmas morning fire in Connecticut is accusing the city of Stamford of allowing the house to become a fire trap by failing to properly oversee construction, his attorney said last week.
Richard Emery, attorney for Matthew Badger, told The Associated Press a notice of intent to sue the city was filed last Friday. He said the city failed to ensure fire alarms were hooked up when children were living in a residence under construction.
“They allowed a fire trap to exist under their supervision with children in it,” Emery said. “Consequently, our claim is they’re liable for the damages to the estates of these kids.”
Joseph Capalbo, director of legal affairs for the city, declined to comment, saying he hadn’t reviewed the notice yet.
A city official has said building inspectors last examined the work in July and did not find any problems.
Matthew Badger’s daughters, 9-year-old Lily and 7-year-old twins Sarah and Grace, and their grandparents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, formerly of Louisville, Ky., were killed in the fire at the girls’ mother’s house.
The mother, Madonna Badger, and her friend, Michael Borcina, escaped. Authorities say the blaze began after Borcina, a contractor working on the house, discarded fireplace ashes in or near an entry, close to the trash.
City officials have said there were plans for hard-wired smoke alarms, but the alarms had not been hooked up.
“They had inspections there,” Emery said. “They granted permits there when they shouldn’t have granted the permits. They were well aware of the fact that a smoke detector system which even had been installed was not hooked up. None of this would have happened if Stamford did its job.”
Emery said the lawsuit would probably be filed in a month or so. He has said Badger is also considering a lawsuit against Borcina.
An insurance company said in a lawsuit filed last month that it should not have to pay claims or lawsuits stemming from the fire because Borcina misrepresented the type and scope of work his company performs. Borcina’s attorney, David Grudberg, said he was very disappointed the insurance company was trying to avoid what he called its legal obligations.