When Madonna Badger was pulled to safety by firefighters, she remembers hearing someone yell, "Turn off the radios!"
"I knew something happened. Something really bad," she told NBC's Matt Lauer in a clip from an upcoming exclusive set to air on Thursday's "Today."
Early Christmas morning last December, a fire ripped through the Victorian mansion of the high-profile fashion executive, killing 10-year-old Lily, 7-year-old twins Sarah and Grace, and her two elderly parents. Badger and her boyfriend, 52-year-old Michael Borcina, were the only survivors.
Now, for the first time since the tragedy, Badger is speaking out about what she can remember from that fateful morning.
"My teeth were black and my mouth was black from the smoke," Badger said through tears, "[Firefighters] took me away quickly because they were worried about smoke inhalation. They said I had to go right away,"
"I begged them and begged them," she said, "'Where are my kids? Where are my babies?'"
Badger has been in mourning for months, last seen emotionally discussing her daughters at the mass funeral and wake held in January. Weeks later she was hospitalized after a reported suicide attempt.
According to Lauer, major questions remain unanswered for Badger, such as what exactly caused the fire and what happened during and afterward. Officials, however, confirmed that the fire was started when Borcina failed to extinguish embers from a fire they had burned in the fireplace earlier.
But closure doesn't seem to be on the horizon for Badger. Just three weeks ago, she filed a lawsuit against the city of Stamford for tearing down her 19th-century home a day after the fire charred it to the extent that the city deemed it unsafe.
Badger claims the mansion was worth a total of $3 million dollars — and that demolishing it prevented her from getting compensation for her "extreme emotional distress and mental anguish," reports the Daily Mail.