Saks Fifth Avenue Santa Dies Trying To Save Granddaughter

A man who worked as Santa Claus at Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas Eve died in a Connecticut house fire the next morning. According to authorities, the 71-year-old man was on the roof of the home trying to rescue his granddaughter when he died. Including the man, five family members perished in the fire.

The New York Post reports the man was a retired liquor executive who once visited the United Nations dressed as Santa.

Coworkers described the man as a jovial, good guy. The article cited a notice in which the man advertised his services, saying he played Santa because a granddaughter asked him to do so. He said he enjoyed the job more than any he’d had.

Courage of blaze kids’ ‘Grandfather Christmas’ [New York Post]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Rena says:


  2. Cat says:

    Let your fireplace ashes cool overnight before placing them in a METAL pail and taking them outside, away from the house.

    That is all.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      It was a great tragedy, and while I almost feel like I’m blaming the OP by pointing out what the family did in error, it’s important that other people take lessons from this event.

      • Cat says:

        The news reports cry “They didn’t have working smoke detectors!”

        Yes, check your smoke detectors, or install some. But warm ashes in a paper bag? Really?

        Poor little girls. Darwin failed to get the correct target here.

        • kobresia says:

          There should be licenses required to operate anything that involves burning materials and requires a lot of user intervention. That includes fireplaces, coal-fired stoves and furnaces, charcoal grills, and campfires. It doesn’t take much for a live ember to ruin a whole lot of folks’ lives if it’s not properly contained.

          The Fourmile wildfire near Boulder that wiped-out 135 homes (and was the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history) was caused by ashes in a firepit that was repeatedly doused and stirred over the course of a couple days, but there were STILL live embers in it that were whipped by the wind.

          That sort of thing makes me think that it’s never worth it to have fires anywhere outside of a fully-enclosed woodstove, and even then I think twice before using mine and do so sparingly when I really need that extra heat. Between chimney fires and ash fires and loose-ember fires, there’s so much potential for disaster.

    • Kestris says:

      I once threw ashes from my grill in my garbage can, after they’d sat in my grill for THREE DAYS.

      The gabage can went up in flames, caught the cypress bush next to my house on fire and melted the siding. If I hadn’t been looking out the window and saw the smoke, I’d have gone through a second housefire at that house.

      THREE DAYS and there were still coals. Now we wet them down before dumping them.

  3. ancientone567 says:

    This is really just too sad for words. It is a perfect example how ones actions can effect the lives of others of others. In this case, it turned out tragic. :(

  4. Such an Interesting Monster says:

    Bloody hell, not what I needed to read first thing in the morning. So horribly tragic.

  5. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    Tragic story. Also, wtf is uo with the NY Post’s story headline?

  6. neilb says:

    h, ths s cnsmr str bcs, wht, h ws cnsmd b fr? Srsl, wh s ths n CNSMRST? f wntd schlck hmn ntrst strs, wld gt tlvsn. /slf-ndlgnt rnt

    • Cat says:

      Because as a good consumer, you are supposed to run out and buy new smoke detectors and 9v batteries.

      DO IT NOW.

      • neilb says:

        Good tie-in, Cat.
        I need to do this (the xmas electronics probably aren’t helping things, fire-safety-wise).

      • RStormgull says:

        And while you’re at it, Carbon Monoxide detectors. Not relevant to this story, but still everyone should have one or more.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

      Seriously, people died, and there is a lesson to be learned here. As much as I have made phun of the Tips From Philoise lately, this needs to be said now, especially as it has been getting colder.

    • icruise says:

      ‘m gng t hv t gr. s n rsn fr ths str t b hr.

      • neilb says:

        Wow, I have never been disemvoweled! I guess one does not go around reminding Consumerist that it should have a consumer-related theme. :) They go all semi-censorship on you.
        ICruise, You got it too for simply agreeing. Huh.

        Ok, now that we have cleared up the purpose of the site, bring on some hard-hitting and insightful articles about cute kittens!

  7. CPC says:

    My parents used to own a Victorian similar to this. It’s all old, dry, sappy, wood, and extremely flammable. I knew if any fire started, we’d be in pretty bad shape.

  8. msbask says:

    There are consumer lessons to be learned here:

    1) Learn to properly dispose of fireplace embers.

    2) Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever put your family to bed in a place without funtioning smoke detectors. By the time the smoke wakes you up (if it wakes you up at all), it’ll probably be too late.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      Absolutely. The fact that the house was “under renovation” makes me suspect- here I had to prove to the city that I had working smoke and CO detectors before I could get the permit to renovate.

  9. PunisherSD says:

    A deep and awful sadness.

  10. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I heard about this. So incredibly sad. And to top it off, it was Santa. :(

  11. quieterhue says:

    Very sad and tragic. I effing hate fire alarms, but it’s important to have them. Also, those emergency ladders that you can use to escape out of a window during a fire are a good thing to have for multi-story homes.

  12. Jules Noctambule says:

    Stories like this are one of the reasons we have a smoke alarm system built in to our home security system. We set it off once by accident and no joke, the fire department was at our front door by the time we’d keyed in the code to shut off the alarm. The peace of mind is worth the little extra we spend every month, and I highly recommend the same to anyone.

    • mbz32190 says:

      My home also has ones that came within the house and are wired in, but after 17 years, I tend to wonder if they will detect anything anymore, and replacements for such an old system (I don’t use the alarm) are expensive, if non-existent. The siren test works, but there is no way of easily seeing if the sensors are actually still good. I threw some cheap battery operated ones up on the wall just in case..cheaper than buying the smoke detector testing spray they sell.

      • msbask says:

        Not sure if you’ll revisit this thread, but just in case: Your detector probably has a “replace by” date on it. My house was built in 1996 and the wired smoke detectors had a “replace by” date of 2005, so maybe they’re good for about 10 years?

  13. smo0 says:

    OH JESUS….
    hide this story from the children….

  14. Kestris says:

    I heard about this fire a few days ago. People on the forum I heard about it on were actually trying to say that the mother of the 3 girls set the damn fire. That it was suspicious that the ‘contractor’ was in the house in his undies, never mind the fact she was seperated from her husband and had been for over a year. And never mind the fact she just lost not only her children, but her parents as well.

    • msbask says:

      And never mind the fact that the firefights pulled her off the scaffolding that she had climbed up trying to get back into the house where the kids were.