Two bodies found in burned Annapolis mansion

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2 bodies found after Maryland mansion fire.

Six members of the Pyle family — Donald Pyle, his wife Sandra, and four of their grandchildren — were feared to have been in the $6.6 million home, known in the neighborhood as “the castle,” when it burned down.Investigators found the bodies of two unidentified people Wednesday in the charred remains of an Annapolis-area mansion that burned to the ground earlier this week, a fire official said. 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.

Fire officials and federal investigators were on the scene of the blaze on Tuesday, extinguishing residual hot spots from fire, which reduced the 16,000-square-foot mansion to rubble early Monday. 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. 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. The house was constructed more like a commercial building than a typical residence, with heavy steel beams, he said, making it difficult to ensure the scene is safe for investigators to enter. So far, investigators with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives say they have found no reason to bring in accelerant-sniffing dogs.

A standard house is about 2,500 square feet, so the Pyles’ house is the equivalent of about six standard houses and larger than some commercial businesses. The site is being treated as a crime scene because the cause of the fire remains under investigation and no witnesses are available to tell officials how it might have started. Howarth said that is a common practice when there are no eyewitnesses, and it means only that anything recovered in the investigation would be admissible in court.

According to a 2008 story in The Baltimore Sun, the Pyles’ house, which was the site of a charity event, was described as looking like a castle, with mini-turrets, stonework and lion statues.

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