Fire swept through this rental home on Spring Lane in...

Fire swept through this rental home on Spring Lane in Noyack on Aug. 3.  Credit: Morgan Campbell

A lack of promised functioning smoke detectors at what turned out to be an illegal East End vacation rental led to the deaths of two sisters, “robbing them of precious time to escape” as a blaze consumed the house this past summer, according to a lawsuit filed by their family.

The sisters’ parents, Alisa and Lewis Wiener of Maryland, filed the suit Nov. 21 against Pamela Miller, Peter Muller, two holding companies, homeaway.com and Vrbo Holdings. Jillian and Lindsay Wiener, ages 21 and 19, died as a result of the fire, which swept through the rental on Springs Lane in Noyack early on Aug. 3. The sisters were part of a family of five from Potomac, Maryland, who rented the home for vacation.

The "defendants' greed, corner-cutting and willful failure to give any thought to the safety of the occupants of the premises led to the deaths," according to the lawsuit, which cited the lack of detectors and rental permit and an uninspected outdoor kitchen.

Edith Morris, a spokeswoman for Vrbo parent Expedia Group, declined to comment. Attempts to reach the other defendants were unsuccessful.

“Rather than fond memories of a week’s vacation on Long Island’s east end, the Wiener family is left with a nightmare from which they cannot wake. As a consequence of the egregious behavior of the defendants, the world will never see the full potential of these extraordinary young women,” the suit says.

The preliminary findings of a Southampton Town investigation in August concluded that the outdoor kitchen at the rental — illegal with "questionable" smoke detectors — was the likely ignition point for the house fire.

“Our investigation thus far is indicating the likelihood the area where the fire began was on the outside of the house in the vicinity of an outdoor kitchen," Ryan Murphy, the town's public safety and emergency management administrator, told Newsday in August.

He said that house had been illegally rented, lacked a permit and thus never had a safety inspection, as required by the town’s code. Such an inspection would have included a check for smoke detectors.

According to the suit, Homeaway and Vrbo “made written representations” to the family that the home had safety features, including smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

“Contrary to the representations made by defendants, there were no working fire, smoke or carbon monoxide alarms in the home,” the suit says. “At the time of the fire, the smoke alarms had either been disconnected from any form of electrical supply, had their batteries removed or contained lifeless batteries.”

The family “reasonably relied on these representations and were catastrophically harmed” as a result.

Attempts to reach the Wieners or their attorney were unsuccessful.

Lindsay Wiener had just finished her freshman year at Tulane, focusing on marketing and Jewish studies; Jillian Wiener was a rising senior at the University of Michigan, "a passionate environmentalist and had just finished a semester studying abroad studying ocean conservation."

“Their parents, Alisa and Lewis Wiener are broken — having suffered a loss that no parents could or should have to endure. Their brother Zachary is haunted by their loss and the notion that the girls could not be saved."

A lack of promised functioning smoke detectors at what turned out to be an illegal East End vacation rental led to the deaths of two sisters, “robbing them of precious time to escape” as a blaze consumed the house this past summer, according to a lawsuit filed by their family.

The sisters’ parents, Alisa and Lewis Wiener of Maryland, filed the suit Nov. 21 against Pamela Miller, Peter Muller, two holding companies, homeaway.com and Vrbo Holdings. Jillian and Lindsay Wiener, ages 21 and 19, died as a result of the fire, which swept through the rental on Springs Lane in Noyack early on Aug. 3. The sisters were part of a family of five from Potomac, Maryland, who rented the home for vacation.

The "defendants' greed, corner-cutting and willful failure to give any thought to the safety of the occupants of the premises led to the deaths," according to the lawsuit, which cited the lack of detectors and rental permit and an uninspected outdoor kitchen.

Edith Morris, a spokeswoman for Vrbo parent Expedia Group, declined to comment. Attempts to reach the other defendants were unsuccessful.

“Rather than fond memories of a week’s vacation on Long Island’s east end, the Wiener family is left with a nightmare from which they cannot wake. As a consequence of the egregious behavior of the defendants, the world will never see the full potential of these extraordinary young women,” the suit says.

The preliminary findings of a Southampton Town investigation in August concluded that the outdoor kitchen at the rental — illegal with "questionable" smoke detectors — was the likely ignition point for the house fire.

“Our investigation thus far is indicating the likelihood the area where the fire began was on the outside of the house in the vicinity of an outdoor kitchen," Ryan Murphy, the town's public safety and emergency management administrator, told Newsday in August.

He said that house had been illegally rented, lacked a permit and thus never had a safety inspection, as required by the town’s code. Such an inspection would have included a check for smoke detectors.

According to the suit, Homeaway and Vrbo “made written representations” to the family that the home had safety features, including smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

“Contrary to the representations made by defendants, there were no working fire, smoke or carbon monoxide alarms in the home,” the suit says. “At the time of the fire, the smoke alarms had either been disconnected from any form of electrical supply, had their batteries removed or contained lifeless batteries.”

The family “reasonably relied on these representations and were catastrophically harmed” as a result.

Attempts to reach the Wieners or their attorney were unsuccessful.

Lindsay Wiener had just finished her freshman year at Tulane, focusing on marketing and Jewish studies; Jillian Wiener was a rising senior at the University of Michigan, "a passionate environmentalist and had just finished a semester studying abroad studying ocean conservation."

“Their parents, Alisa and Lewis Wiener are broken — having suffered a loss that no parents could or should have to endure. Their brother Zachary is haunted by their loss and the notion that the girls could not be saved."

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