STANFORD, Conn., June 21 (UPI) -- In a television interview aired Thursday, Madonna Badger recounted the Christmas fire that engulfed her Stanford, Conn., home and killed her three daughters.
Badger spoke out for the first time since that night in an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer on Rock Center.
She recalled awaking that night, choked by the smoke, startled by the fact that she heard no alarms.
"It was silent," she said. "It was the scariest silence."
She climbed out the window and was forced to make a decision. Should she go back in to save her children or her parents? She chose her children, 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah and 9-year-old Lily.
Scaffolding that had been set up for renovations blocked her way back into the house.
"I scrambled up the scaffolding to get to Grace's window. And I opened that window and the smoke that hit me, it was just the blackest like an ocean," she said. "And I kept trying to hold my breath and put my head in … and I couldn't get in."
Her boyfriend, Michael Borcina, fell out of the bedroom window, eyes burned shut, as fire trucks arrived. He shouted to the girls to jump to him.
The fire, started by embers Borcina had thrown away in a paper bag, destroyed Badger's $1.7 million home and stole the lives of her three little girls.
Ten days later, Badger mustered the strength of speak at their funeral.
"I think it was all God's grace," she said.