A person from Westport is among the dozens of people killed in the massive warehouse fire in Oakland, California.
Riley Fritz was 29 years old and grew up in Westport, on Newtown Turnpike.
She graduated from Staples High School where at that time she was known as Justin. After college, Justin publicly began identifying as a woman and came to be known as Riley.
She had lived in different parts of the country and just a few months ago moved to Oakland.
She was invited by friends to a dance party on Friday in Oakland, at a giant warehouse and sadly that would be the last night of her life.
The 10,000 square foot building became a virtual ball of fire, with thick smoke and intense heat.
Riley was among at least 36 people who did not make it out alive.
Her friends got out safely, but they couldn't find her. They called her dad, who then contacted police, who confirmed Riley's was one of the bodies found.
"Riley was a kind and loving person who never had a bad word to say about anyone. When Riley decided to live her life as a woman, we embraced her and continued to love her as always. She was still the same wonderful person inside. Now that life is taken. We are heartbroken and devastated,” said Riley’s father, Bruce Fritz.
The investigation into the fire continues, and there are questions about whether the building had sprinklers or smoke alarms.
For Riley's family, the important thing right now is to get her and bring her home.
Her dad said they will remember Riley as a free spirit who taught them how to view life in a new and different way.
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