100 Year Old Woman Dies in Wilmette Fire

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A 100-year-old Wilmette woman died Saturday, July 20, following a fire in her home in the early-morning hours.

The Wilmette Fire Department responded to a blaze at 2:48 a.m. on Saturday, July 20, at 601 Ridge Road, a condo complex with five occupants, and was informed a resident was still inside a second-floor unit, while the other four residents were already on the street, according to the department.

Opal Reifenberg was located by firefighters on the bedroom floor of her unit. She was treated and transported to Skokie Hospital, the department said. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, Reifenberg was pronounced dead about 18 hours later at 10:15 p.m. at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. An autopsy is pending.

The report states the fire originated and was contained to the living room of Reifenberg's unit. The origin of the fire is not yet known, but an investigation is underway.

More than 30 Wilmette firefighters were assisted by emergency resources from eight neighboring communities, and the fire was deemed "all clear" by 6:16 a.m.

The four other occupants of the residence, the report says, were allowed to gather personal items but were asked to find other living arrangements while the area was secured.

Damage to the structure was estimated at $300,000.