Crews found the remains of two bodies in the rubble of an Annapolis mansion that burned to the ground Monday morning, according to Anne Arundel County officials.
The grim discovery was made Wednesday, the first day investigators were able to safely enter the charred ruins in which six people were feared dead, officials said.
Anne Arundel County fire department spokesman Lt. Russell Davies Jr., speaking at a Wednesday afternoon news conference, said four of the victims are still missing.
Investigators have been searching for the mansion’s owner Don Pyle, his wife, Sandy, and the couple’s four grandchildren.
The headmaster of the Severn School, where the children were enrolled, already said in a letter to parents that the four children and their grandparents had died.
Davies would not specify whether the remains found Wednesday were those of adults or children. He said the bodies were sent to the Maryland medical examiner’s office in Baltimore to be autopsied and identified.
Davies said cadaver dogs were brought in for the search, and crews will continue to work despite the snowfall.
“There is still a lot of work to be done,” Davies said. “This is a massive effort and will take days to complete.”
The cadaver dogs did not find the bodies but did have “positive hits” around the scene, Davies said.
Davies would not specify where in the mansion the bodies were found or how much progress crews have made since entering the home’s remains Wednesday.
Authorities said earlier that they were conducting an “active criminal investigation,” although they did not have any reason to believe that the fire was suspicious. Davies said Wednesday that they did not yet have any clues to whether or not foul play was involved.
There were no witnesses and no cause apparent. The 16,000-square-foot home, known in the neighborhood as “the castle,” apparently didn’t have a sprinkler system able to douse the blaze or give those inside time to flee.
The four-alarm fire was reported on the eight-acre property on Childs Point Road at 3:30 a.m. Monday.
“This is five standard-sized houses put together,”Anne Arundel County fire department commander Robert Howarth said Tuesday. Due to the size of the site and the extent of the damage, a national response team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined the response Tuesday.