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Mary Altaffer, Associated Press
The casket for 9-year-old Lily Badger and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah Badger arrive at St. Thomas Episcopal Church for their funeral service, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012 in New York. Hundreds of people streamed into the historic church in the heart of Manhattan on Thursday for the funeral of three young girls who died along with their grandparents during a Christmas morning fire in Stamford, Conn.

NEW YORK — A woman whose three young daughters died in a Christmas morning fire at their Connecticut home says the children will live on her heart.

Advertising executive Madonna Badger spoke during funeral services at a Manhattan church on Thursday. "My girls are in my heart. ...And that's where they live now," she told more than 500 mourners.

Badger's parents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, also died in the fire.

The family was at Badger's Stamford house with friend and contractor Michael Borcina when a pre-dawn fire erupted. Authorities say embers in a bag of discarded ashes started the blaze. They had been taken out of a fireplace so the children wouldn't worry about Santa coming down the chimney.

A private service also was held Thursday for the girls and their grandparents.

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