A house fire in Italy took the life of a 69-year-old woman and left a family without basic necessities late last week.

The fire began at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 108 Couch Street in Italy.

Italy Police Chief Scott Peters said the Ellis County fire marshal is currently investigating the cause of the fire concurrently with the Texas State Fire Marshal’s office.

“We haven’t been told of a cause yet,” Peters said.

Peters said the fire resulted in the death of Carolyn Hamilton, 69, and a total loss for the residency. Brianna Perry, 23, was living in the house at the time with her grandparents, Mark and Carolyn Hamilton. Brianna is a single mother who survived the fire alongside her five-year-old son and seven-month-old daughter.

Italy resident Chelsea Britton was there with the family the day of the fire. She said the Perry family lost everything.

“They lost all of their clothes, shoes, Christmas presents,” Britton explained. “They have not only lost a family member but everything that they had.”

Britton said a mutual friend bought a hotel room for the Perry family for about a week. Britton offered to help the family and opened a GoFundMe for them the same day as the fire.

“Her and my little sister have been best friends for a very long time,” Britton said. “She’s basically a part of the family.”

Britton said the family is accepting clothing donations as well, which can be dropped off at the Central Baptist Church in Italy at 113 South Ward St.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet identified the cause of death for Carolyn. Peters said results would come back in six to eight weeks. A funeral service was held for her Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Boze-Mitchell-McKibbin Italy Chapel.

As of Monday afternoon, $3,275 has been raised out of a $10,000 goal. To donate, go online at