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Relatives of three young sisters killed in a Christmas morning fire in Connecticut say they've been touched by the compassion they've received from around the world.

The Hartford Courant newspaper ( http://cour.at/xUTKQF) reports family friend Kate Askew said Wednesday after a Manhattan wake for the girls the "incredible outpouring of love and compassion" has touched the family deeply "through this unbearable tragedy." She says it's an "incredibly difficult time."

The fire killed 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah Badger, 10-year-old Lily Badger and their maternal grandparents at a home in Stamford.

The girls' mother is New York City advertising executive Madonna Badger. She and her friend Michael Borcina survived the fire. The girls' father, Matthew Badger, was in Manhattan at the time.

A funeral is scheduled for Thursday.

Authorities say embers in a bag of discarded fireplace ashes started the blaze.

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Information from: The Hartford Courant, http://www.courant.com

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