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Hearst heiress' $4M Hamptons home destroyed in massive fire

Matthew McNulty

A massive fire destroyed the Hamptons home of Hearst publishing heiress and socialite Anne Hearst and her novelist husband Jay McInerney, as 10 fire departments struggled to extinguish the flames due to a lack of nearby fire hydrants, according to the Daily Mail.

It took emergency crews three hours to put out the fire on Saturday morning, with much of the $4 million Hamptons mansion left in ruins, with the main part of the property destroyed as well as the roof of the second floor, the outlet reported.

Officials struggled to extinguish the blaze partly because the closest fire hydrant was a mile away, forcing crews to drive tanker trucks back and forth for water, according to the Southampton Press.

Meanwhile, fire and emergency personnel were forced to navigate through a narrow path to reach the home -- known as Ashgrove Farm -- of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst's granddaughter.

No people or animals that reside on the Water Mill hamlet estate were injured. Firefighters rescued two cats, an emu named Anne Simeon, a wallaby, several dogs and a parrot during Saturday's conflagration, according to the Daily Mail. A large collection of artwork was also safely retrieved.

Bridgehampton Chief Mark Balserus described “a pretty substantial haze in the house,” with another fire official saying the fire "had been going for a long time before we got called, because supposedly they (Hearst and McInerney) had smelled smoke around 7 o'clock this morning when they woke up," the Mail reported.

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“You could see visible fire in one of the walls, going up, leading to the attic space,” Balserus told the East Hampton Star.

"It's a huge house," Balserus added. "We did use a lot of manpower for overhaul and making sure all the spots were out."

Officials noted that they did not suspect foul play, with Southampton Police Sgt. Michael Burns telling the New York Post that there was “a problem with the fireplace and chimney that was ongoing throughout the night.”

Hearst and her husband, who were forced to delay a vacation to Turks and Caicos because of the blaze, have owned the 7-acre estate since 2001 and built the home on the property back in 2003. Hearst is estimated to be worth $50 million thanks to family fortune accrued by her grandfather, best known for developing the nation's largest newspaper chain and media company, Hearst Communications.

She currently serves as a contributing editor of American Lifestyle magazine and Hearst subsidiary, Town & Country.

Hearst and her husband, whose 2006 marriage was officiated by former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani at the 21 Club in Manhattan, also own a two-bedroom penthouse in the Greenwich Village neighborhood in Lower Manhattan.

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