Family and friends of sisters Jillian and Lindsay Wiener came to Washington Hebrew Congregation today to mourn their passing. Jillian, 21, and Lindsay, 19, both of Potomac, were killed on the morning of Aug. 3 after a fire broke out at their family’s summer rental house in the Hamptons, Long Island, according to reports. The two sisters were asleep on the second floor when the fire began around before 3:35 a.m. After it was extinguished, they were taken to a hospital, where they were pronounced dead of their injuries.
Mourners remembered the sisters for the impact they had on those who counted themselves lucky to know them. Lindsay Wiener was remembered as a sweet, friendly, resourceful, outgoing person who epitomized warmth, knew how to make others feel loved and whose positive energy was contagious. Mourners recalled her bright smile, perfectly manicured fingers and enormous heart, and how she would go out of her way to throw her family members incredible birthday celebrations. She enjoyed grocery shopping at night, and would insist that those accompanying her for special outings to Target would come wearing pajamas. She had a wonderful sense of humor that allowed her to poke fun at herself, and a tendency to sing out loud during long car rides. She was also remembered for her emotional intelligence, and her ability to manage relationships and make her friends feel valued.
Lindsay Wiener was a student at Tulane University, who worked hard at her studies and fell in love with the city and cuisine of New Orleans. After college, she wished to live in New York.
Jillian Wiener was remembered as a pure soul with a sense of ferocity, who loved ice hockey and who wouldn’t so much as blink after being thrown from a horse. She was also remembered for her calming energy, adventurous spirit and silly sense of humor. Some recalled how she could find joy in even small things, such as climbing on top of roofs and looking at the stars, or skipping into a room with her flapping curls to pepper a family member with questions on the kind of fish or dinosaur they would choose to be if they could.
Family members recalled one evening when Jillian Wiener had been inquiring about the possibility of being sent to a boarding school. That same evening, she forgot to turn off the water in her bathroom, flooding the bathroom and the dining room below it. Afterwards, her family recalled her asking how they now felt about sending her to boarding school.
Jillian Wiener was also remembered for her work as a yoga instructor, and for her talent as an artist, turning doodles into masterpieces. She was a student of the University of Michigan, who received a 4.0 GPA during her freshman year. She had plans to one day enroll in a graduate program at the University of Michigan and study environmental science. Her plans for the future included backpacking around Europe, teaching yoga in California or Australia, and helping to restore the environment by becoming a coral gardener.
According to reports, parents Lewis and Aliza Wiener were sleeping on the first floor and their children, including their son, Zachary, were asleep on the floor above. Lewis awoke to the sound of glass breaking and yelled for everyone to run outside.
Police said Zachary escaped from a second-floor window. According to reports, when Lewis realized that his daughters were still inside, he tried to return to the house, but the flames drove him back.
The cause of the fire has not been announced,
Survivors include father, Lewis, the president of Washington Hebrew Congregation; mother, Alisa; and brother, Zachary.
Contributions in Jillian Wiener’s memory can be made to Coral Gardeners. Contributions in Lindsay Wiener’s memory can be made to Tulane University, in the name of the Lindsay Wiener Memorial Fund.