Updated at 4:30 p.m.
A predawn fire that destroyed a Stamford home claimed the lives of two residents of in Southbury on Christmas Day.
The Christmas morning fire occurred on Shippan Avenue in Stamford. Five people died in the fire, including Lomer and Pauline Johnson, of 636B Heritage Village, as well as their three grandchildren, a 10-year-old and two 7-year-old twins, .
Fire officials are still investigating the cause of the massive blaze. The Johnsons' daughter Madonna Badger, the homeowner and mother of the children, along with a male acquaintance, survived the fire.
A neighbor of the Johnsons,' Leo Ditkoff, remembered the last time he saw Lomer Johnson, just last Thursday at the annual Heritage Village Christmas party.
“I sat right next to Lomer just last week,” he said. “I didn’t know him well, but when he sat down I looked at his big white beard and told him he should play Santa Claus. He looked back at me and said ‘Ho, Ho, Ho, I do.”
Lomer dressed up as Santa Claus at Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, according to the New York Times.
Don Milot, who lived in the condo building adjacent to the Johnsons,' said he was very saddened to hear the news. He said he didn’t know the couple very well and they had not lived in Heritage Village very long.
“How awful it is,” he said. “Especially something like this to happen on Christmas, just horrible.”
Stamford's emergency services and residents alike are shocked by the news of an early Christmas morning house fire that claimed the lives of three Shippan Ave. children.
"Five people perished in the fire; three children and their grandparents. The mother's parents," SPD's Sgt. Paul Guzda said about the 5 a.m. fire at 2267 Shippan Ave."The mother survived, along with a male acquaintance."
SPD confirms that the homeowner and mother of the three child victims is Madonna Badger, a Stamford business owner, was taken to Stamford Hospital and suffers no critical injuries.
"A neighbor was alerted to the fire when they heard screaming. They dialed 911," Guzda said.
According to Guzda, typical of any fire investigation, it was decided early on as to which local agency would lead the investigation.
"In this case, it was considered that the fire marshal be in charge of the investigation," Guzda said, personally naming Stamford assistant fire marshal of Stamford Fire and Rescue.
Mayor Michael Pavia and Acting Chief Antonio Conte addressed the Shippan tragedy Sunday morning, according to a report by the Stamford Advocate.