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Fire at Conn. home kills ad executive’s 3 children, parents

Tina Fineberg | AP
Tina Fineberg | AP
The back of a house where an early morning fire left five people dead is seen Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011, in Stamford, Conn.
The Associated Press

STAMFORD, Conn. — Fire swept through an advertising executive’s Victorian home along the Connecticut shoreline, killing her three children and her parents.

Madonna Badger and a male acquaintance were able to escape from the house as it was engulfed by flames on Christmas morning, Stamford police Sgt. Paul Guzda said. But Badger’s three daughters — a 10-year-old and 7-year-old twins — died in the fire, Guzda said.

He said Badger’s parents, who were visiting for the holiday, also died in the blaze.

Neighbors said they awoke to the sound of screaming shortly before 5 a.m. and rushed outside to help, but they could only watch in horror as flames devoured the grand home and the shocked, injured survivors were led away from the house.

Badger, an ad executive in the fashion industry, is the founder of New York City-based Badger & Winters Group. A supervisor at Stamford Hospital said she was treated and discharged by Sunday evening.

Stamford fire chief Antonio Conte said Monday that the $1.7 million house had been razed on the order of the building department.

Police: Utah mom, son rescued after Facebook post

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah woman used Facebook to get help after she and her 17-month-old son were held hostage at a residence for nearly five days, police said.

Police Sgt. Jon Arnold said the woman hid in a closet with a laptop to post her plea for help on the social networking website, saying she and her son would be “dead by morning” if they were not rescued.

The post prompted someone to call police, who went to the home to check on the woman’s welfare.

Police arrested Troy Reed Critchfield, 33, and booked him into jail Saturday for investigation of aggravated kidnapping, forcible sodomy, aggravated assault, domestic violence, child abuse, animal cruelty and other charges.

U.S. pledges help in finding Nigeria Christmas bombers

LAGOS, Nigeria — The United States is promising to help Nigeria find those responsible for a wave of Christmas Day bombings that killed dozens in the oil-rich African nation.

“We have been in contact with Nigerian officials about what appear to be terrorist acts and pledge to assist them in bringing those responsible to justice,” according to a statement by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Authorities in Africa’s top oil producer blame the Boko Haram for a surge of violence in the mainly Muslim north and Abuja in which hundreds of people have died this year. Boko Haram, a Muslim sect, reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks, two of which targeted churches. A year ago, the group said it was behind holiday bombings that killed more than 90.

The first explosion Sunday occurred as services were ending at St. Theresa’s Church near the capital, Abuja. Yemi Ajayi, a police spokesman, said at least 20 people were killed. Another blast, at a church in the central city of Jos, capital of Plateau state, killed a policeman, said Pam Ayuba, a spokesman for the state government.

A suspected suicide-bomber rammed a car into the entrance of the State Security Service building in the northeastern city of Damaturu, killing four people and the bomb.

9 killed in Yemeni military, militants gunbattle

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni soldiers battled al-Qaida-linked militants Monday outside the southern city of Zinjibar, which remains partly under the control of the Islamists. Five soldiers and four fighters were killed, a military official said.

The intense fighting in northern and eastern Zinjibar included artillery and rocket shelling on militant hideouts, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.

He said the military units were engaged in pitched battles with armed gangs deployed on the streets, and have advanced on areas controlled by the militants.

At least 60 people, including 23 soldiers, have been killed in the fighting since last week.

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