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An early morning fire destroyed this home at 73 Lake Drive in Hamilton yesterday.

HAMILTON — An early morning fire destroyed a home at 73 Lake Drive yesterday. The tenants who lived there, Deborah Barnwell and her daughter, Miranda, were not home, but the family's three cats, guinea pig and bird all died in the blaze.

Fire Chief Phil Stevens said the fire had a good head start by the time firefighters arrived shortly after 5:30 a.m. The fire was brought under control in about an hour with assistance from the Wenham Fire Department. Fire crews from Topsfield and Essex covered the local stations during the fire.

The state fire marshal's office is investigating, but Stevens said the fire was not suspicious. Stevens said the home was a total loss, with extensive heat and smoke damage.

Paula Stevens, a friend of the family, said Barnwell and her daughter were traveling in upstate New York yesterday, and relatives were trying to contact them to inform them of the fire.

"What an awful thing to come home to," Stevens said.

Arrangements have been made for temporary housing, she said.

A fund has been established to help the family get back on its feet. Donations can be made to the Barnwell Fire Fund, Beverly National Bank, Attention: Jenn Gilligan, 25 Railroad Ave., South Hamilton, MA 01982.

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