2 Bodies Found in Search of Rubble After Annapolis Mansion Fire

Crews found two bodies in their search of the rubble at the scene of an Annapolis-area mansion fire, authorities said Wednesday afternoon. The search for four other missing people continues.

A man, a woman and their four grandchildren were unaccounted for after a fire tore through the mansion early Monday. Authorities did not specify whether the bodies found were adults or children.

The bodies have been taken to the medical examiner's office in Baltimore.

Fire officials and federal investigators returned to the scene with heavy equipment and cadaver dogs Wednesday to help search the rubble of the 16,000-square-foot mansion. Once inside, crews began stabilizing the wreckage and pumping out the basement, which was flooded by water firefighters sprayed on the building.

A spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said the search and investigation into the fire's cause will likely take "days, not hours" to complete.

Efforts to contact the family have been unsuccessful, and the Maryland home was their last known location, officials said. The missing children include students of Severn Lower School in Severna Park, which was closed Tuesday to offer grief counseling.

Although there is no sign of foul play, it is being handled as a crime scene because there is no indication how or where the fire started and there are no witnesses.

Fire officials say the home did not have a sprinkler system. An alarm monitoring company and a neighbor who saw flames reported the fire in the 900 block of Childs Point Road in Annapolis about 3:30 a.m. Monday, according to Capt. Russ Davies, spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. When firefighters arrived, they found heavy smoke and flames through the first floor, second floor and roof of the home.

Eighty-five firefighters from the county, the city of Annapolis and other jurisdictions battled the blaze, Davies said. Because there was not a fire hydrant in the area, firefighters shuttled water tankers to the site and stationed a fire boat at a pier near the property to bring in water.

The intensity of the fire, the size of the house and the failure of the roof and floors prevented firefighters from searching the structure, Davies said. Fire officials have said the fire was the equivalent to five homes and was more like a commercial fire.

The $6.2 million home, which resembled a castle and overlooked the South River, was owned by IT executive and philanthropist Don Pyle, the chief operating officer of ScienceLogic, and his wife, Sandra.

Davies has declined to identify the family members for which they are looking.

Teddy bears and flowers now rest near the front gate, and teary-eyed neighbors have stopped by.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent 15 to 20 agents to investigate because of the size and scope of the scene, News4's Darcy Spencer reported.

Special Agent David Cheplak, a spokesman for the ATF's Baltimore field office, said there was no evidence at this point of foul play.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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