UPDATE: Deceased, injured identified in Fontana house fire

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Gazette staff
August 14, 2015

FONTANA—Officials say one person died and three others were injured--including an elderly woman in critical condition--in a Walworth County house fire early Friday morning.

Fontana Police Chief Steven Olson identified the deceased as Ryan F. Opitz, 19, of Mundelein, Illinois.

The three injured were the homeowner, Merry K. Opitz, 81, of Fontana; David F. Opitz, 54, of Mundelein; and Travis J. Breaman, 19, of Fort Myers, Florida, Olson said.

Olson was not sure how the Opitzes were related.

The injured were taken to Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville, where Merry Opitz was reported in critical condition early Friday afternoon.

Mercy reported David Opitz and Breaman were in good condition.

Fontana police and fire departments responded to the fire at 919 Juneau Drive at 1:50 a.m. Friday, according to a news release.

First responders found the single-story house fully engulfed and three adult occupants of the house outside. They told authorities a fourth person was still inside. Firefighters searched the home and found Ryan F. Opitz in a bedroom unconscious. He was taken to Mercy Walworth Hospital and later declared dead, according to the release.

The house is a total loss, with about half burned down, Fontana Fire Chief Wolfgang Nitsch told a Gazette reporter on the scene.

Fire departments from the villages of Walworth, Williams Bay and Darien along with units from Lake Geneva, Delavan, Harvard and the towns of Linn and Delavan helped extinguish the fire, which was under control by 2:35 a.m., according to the release.

Olsen said the fire appears to have started on the side of the house that burned down.

What caused the fire and whether smoke detectors were working are under investigation by Fontana police, the county fire investigation task force and the state Department of Criminal Investigations, officials said.

Nitsch said it is believed but not certain that the house's occupants owned the house but were summertime residents.

A Gazette reporter saw a Chevrolet Avalanche in the driveway with what appeared to be a trailer with a covered boat attached.

Juneau Drive is narrow, with many tall trees. The damaged house is a short walk to the Country Club Estates Golf Course and about one-half mile south of Geneva Lake.

The Walworth County Sheriff's Office and Town of Linn Police Department assisted at the scene, according to the release.

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