The community is mourning the loss of three residents that died in an early morning house fire that occurred on Washington Avenue in Garden City earlier this month.
According to the Garden City Police Department, officers responded to the home on Washington Avenue after receiving a call about the fire at around 5:30 a.m. on May 6. When officers arrived, they observed the home fully engulfed in flames. The Garden City Fire Department responded along with eight other fire departments to extinguish the blaze. There were approximately 11 fire apparatus’ and 50 fire personnel who also responded to the scene. After the fire, it was determined that the victims who died were Gail Madigan, 60, Molly Madigan, 18, and Joe Madigan, 62.
Nassau County Police Arson Bomb Squad responded, along with the Nassau County Fire Marshall, and determined that there weren’t any working smoke detectors within the home.
The Garden City Board of Trustees ordered all flags in the village to be lowered to half-staff following the fire.
“It’s a tragic day in Garden City,” Mayor Cosmo Veneziale said, requesting a moment of silence prior to the start of the May 6 board meeting.
Newly appointed Fire Commissioner Trustee Tom O’Brien thanked village police and fire personnel for their heroic actions. “Our thoughts are with their family and friends at this time,” he said.
Molly, who was a senior at Garden City High School, was set to attend New York University in the fall for music education.
“As many of you know, singing and performing were Molly’s passion,” Garden City Schools Superintendent Kusum Sinha said in a statement. “She was an accomplished musician, performing in our high school chamber and concert choirs, as well as our vocal jazz ensemble. She was selected to the NAfME All-Eastern Choir this year, in addition to receiving NYSSMA All-State honors in 2019 and 2020. She was a member of the NMEA All-County Choir for the past seven years, a remarkable achievement for any musician. I have had the honor of hearing Molly sing on several occasions from her performances to special events. Her voice was one of an angel.
In addition to being a talented musician, Molly served as the secretary of the high school’s Best Buddies Club and was a member of the school’s Peer Educators Leadership Program. On top of that, she played varsity badminton, volunteered her time through the National Charity League and worked a part-time job. She truly defined the phrase ‘well-rounded.’ Since Molly started kindergarten at Hemlock, her smile has brightened the halls of every school she attended. She was loved and a role model to so many of her peers. Molly, like here mother, gave freely of her time and energy to make our larger community a better place.
We also grieve the loss of Molly’s parents, including her mother Gail, who was an extremely active member of our school community. Gail contributed countless hours to our district through her various roles. Some of these include, an active member of our PTA, serving as president for several years. She served as the president of Garden City Friends of Music since 2019 and led our district’s senior citizen tea for the past decade, a beloved tradition for so many in our community. She gave selflessly to our schools and the larger community. We are a better because of her.”
Sinha said the school district plans to memorialize the family to honor their lives and their contributions. The school held a vigil outside the high school the morning after the fire and also tied pink, white, and blue ribbons around trees and lampposts around the village to honor the Madigan family.
On social media, hundreds of people have paid their respects in tribute posts and comments remembering the Madigan family as well.
“Molly Madigan was a former Medusa Lacrosse player and in most recent years was a part of our coaching staff for the Little Laxers program,” a statement on Medusa Lacrosse’s Facebook stated. “Molly is a kid you just don’t forget and to say she was wonderful would be an understatement.”
The Music Academy Foundation also said in a Facebook post, “We are heartbroken at the loss of our dear student Molly and her parents. Molly was a student at the Music Academy for over a decade, and we watched as she grew into an incredible musician and person. Molly’s mom, Gail, became a friend…and championed for the Music Academy, always supporting our mission and keeping us connected to the community. We were so proud of Molly’s accomplishments, and excited to see her pursuing her musical dreams in the fall at NYU.”
There is also a GoFundMe page to help Joe and Gail’s other three children, who they left behind, to help with funeral expenses. Any other monies that are left over will go to a scholarship fund in Molly’s memory. To contribute, you can visit www.gofundme.com/f/the-madigan-family-memorial-fund.