This story was updated at 4:55 p.m. Aug. 3, 2022, with information from the Washington Hebrew Congregation, and at 1:50 p.m. Aug. 4, 2022, with information from the University of Michigan.
Two sisters, both graduates of the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, were killed Wednesday in an early morning house fire in New York, according to Holton-Arms officials.
In a letter to the school community Wednesday afternoon, Holton-Arms Head of School Susanna Jones wrote that Jillian and Lindsay Wiener died in the fire earlier in the day.
Local media reports say the sisters — Jillian, 21, and Lindsay, 19 — were on vacation with their parents, Lewis and Alisa, and brother, Zach, in the Hamptons on Long Island. The home caught fire shortly before 4 a.m. and a cause has not yet been released, according to the reports.
All five were transported to a local hospital. Lew, Alisa and Zach, who were all able to escape the blaze, were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Jillian and Lindsay were found by firefighters inside the home. They were pronounced dead at the hospital.
Local media reported that Zach escaped through a second-story window. The father, Lew, tried unsuccessfully to re-enter the home when he realized Jillian and Lindsay had not escaped, according to the published reports.
In her letter, Jones wrote that “the sisters were warm, engaged members of the Holton community who positively impacted both their classes and the larger school community.” Holton-Arms is an all-girls private school with an enrollment of about 700 students in third through 12th grade, according to its website.
Jones noted that Jillian played soccer and ice hockey, and was passionate about yoga and community service. She was a rising senior at The University of Michigan.
Lindsay was “a bright spirit and leader” who was “dedicated to service, particularly getting young people involved in politics and generally promoting volunteerism.” She served as president of the school’s Jewish Culture Club. She was a rising sophomore at Tulane University in New Orleans.
She noted that Jillian played soccer and ice hockey, and was passionate about yoga and community service. She was a rising senior at the University of Michigan.
“At the University of Michigan, we are shocked and saddened by this tragic loss of a member of our community. Our hearts go out to the family,” university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald wrote in a text message Thursday.
In a message to members, the Washington Hebrew Congregation, based in Washington, D.C., wrote Wednesday that Lewis was recently named the congregation’s president.
“The world has lost two beautiful lights today, and we are heartbroken. Through their leadership and service, acts of kindness, and friendship, the Wiener family has touched so many lives at Washington Hebrew,” the message said.
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org