Christmas Fire in Connecticut
Charred timbers and a pile of debris is all that's left of the million-dollar home where three little girls and their grandparents died over the holidays.
The house was razed once investigators had combed through the debris, turning up what they think is a crucial clue to the cause of that deadly blaze.
With the whole community still reeling from the tragedy, INSIDE EDITION is now hearing the chilling 911 calls made from the neighbors.
"There's a huge fire at the house next door to us. The whole house is on fire," said one neighbor to 911.
It was a desperate plea for help as the fire rippded through the home.
"A major, major fire with people in the house. There's three kids and a woman," continued the neighbor to 911.
Another neighbor also called in, giving the street name. "The house down at the bottom of Shippan's on fire."
The dispatcher responded: "Yep, we got it."
"Ok, is everyone ok?"
Tragically, they were not . Seven-year-old twins Sarah and Grace died. So did their ten-year-old sister Lily and the girls' grandparents, Pauline and Lomer Johnson.
The 911 calls were released as it was revealed that a yule log may have doomed the victims of the early-morning blaze. Authorities suspect the fire may have been started by the still-smoldering ashes from a log that were left outside. It's thought that the wind may have picked up the embers, triggering the deadly blaze at the Stamford, Connecticut home. Another possible theory is that the smoldering embers were left inside the foyer.
Veteran firefighters choked up at the tragedy.
"I've been on the job for 38 years. Not an easy day," said the Fire Chief at a press conference.
71-year-old grandpa Lomer Johnson had been playing Santa Claus for Saks Fifth Avenue.
He died as he tried to lead one of his granddaughters to safety out of a window. "He succumed right there and we found the child just inside the window, covered in debris," said the fire chief.
The girls' mother, Madonna Badger, was rescued on the roof, while she was trying, in vain, to get back into the house to save her family. She was treated and released from a local hospital.
47-year-old Badger is a Calvin Klein marketing executive, responsible for the famous Marky Mark underwear campaign.
Her contractor boyfriend also survived the blaze at the house.
Back in 2000, INSIDE EDITION got firsthand experience of how devastating a fire in the home can be.
To demonstrate the most deadly mistakes made by fire victims, we recruited Chief John evans who runs the Bergen County Academy in New Jersey.
According to the Chief, crawling below the smoke gives you fresher air to breathe and better visibility to escape. If you still can see, Chief John says, "A simple thing like put your hand to the wall and follow the wall to the exit. What if the room was still in flames? The Chief says the same theory applies. Stay low.
Now, a commmunity is left mourning over the loss of those three little girls and their grandparents.