Conn. fire victim was Ky. company's safety chief

December 26, 2011 - 7:38 PM
APTOPIX Fire Five Dead

Yellow tape stretches across the driveway, Monday, Dec. 26, 2011, at the house where a fire left five people dead Christmas Day, in Stamford, Conn. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — A man who played Santa Claus at Saks Fifth Avenue and died with his wife and three grandchildren in a Christmas house fire in Connecticut worked to prevent fires as safety chief at a company in Kentucky.

Lomer Johnson is being remembered as a stickler for safety details by a former boss at the Louisville, Ky., liquor maker Brown-Forman Corp., where he retired as safety and security director years ago.

Former Brown-Forman executive Robert Holmes Jr. said Monday it was Johnson's job to keep plant workers safe. He says Johnson's responsibilities included planning fire drills.

The victims in the Christmas fire in Stamford, Conn., included a 10-year-old girl and 7-year-old twin girls.

Johnson's daughter is a New York advertising executive who escaped the fire with an acquaintance. Her burned house has been torn down.

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Associated Press writer Bruce Schreiner contributed to this report from Louisville, Ky.