UPDATE: Crews Discover 2 More Bodies in Md. Mansion Ruins - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

UPDATE: Crews Discover 2 More Bodies in Md. Mansion Ruins

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Firefighters battle a four-alarm fire at a home on Childs Point Road, early Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, in Annapolis, Md. The occupants of the home were unaccounted for and fire officials were investigating. (AP Photo) Firefighters battle a four-alarm fire at a home on Childs Point Road, early Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, in Annapolis, Md. The occupants of the home were unaccounted for and fire officials were investigating. (AP Photo)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Investigators found the bodies of two more people in the charred remains of an Annapolis-area mansion that burned to the ground earlier this week, bringing the number of dead to four.

Crews found two bodies on Thursday, the second day of excavating the site, and two bodies on Wednesday, according to Anne Arundel County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Russ Davies.

Six people - Don and Sandra Pyle and their four grandchildren - had been unaccounted for since a massive fire reduced a 16,000-square-foot waterfront mansion near the state's capital to rubble early Monday.

Relatives said after the blaze that they believed the Pyles and their grandchildren were all inside the mansion when it caught fire.

Investigators would not say whether the bodies found were those of adults or children, only that they are being sent to the Office of the State Medical Examiner in Baltimore for identification.

Family members of the Pyles said in a statement Thursday that they are grateful for the love and support they have received in the wake of the fire, and identified the four children they believe were killed as two sets of siblings, all between 6 and 8 years old.

Fire officials said the fire spread quickly through the 7-bedroom, 7-and-a-half bath mansion. Investigators said the home did not have a sprinkler system.

Federal investigators from the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting with the investigation.

A cause of the blaze has not yet been determined.

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From Wednesday:

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - 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.

Anne Arundel County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Russ Davies said cadaver dogs and searchers found the bodies. He said four people remain unaccounted for.

"I cannot say if they are adults or children," Davies said. He added that they were taken to Office of the State Medical Examiner in Baltimore for identification. Davies said he did not know how long it would take to identify the victims and determine their cause of death.

Property records show the home is owned by Sandra and Don Pyles.

They and four grandchildren have been missing since crews were called early Monday to the scene of the blaze, which reduced the 16,000-square-foot waterfront castle to ruins. Officials said Tuesday that relatives believed the family was inside the mansion when it caught fire.

Investigators began excavating the ruins Wednesday.

Davies said no accelerant sniffing dogs have been brought in so far.

"We have never called the fire suspicious," he said.

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.

Davies was accompanied at the Wednesday news conference by several other officials, including Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Wes Adams, County Executive Steve Schuh, local police and fire officials and an agent from the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The fire was reported about 3:30 a.m. Monday by an alarm-monitoring company and a neighbor who spotted flames. Officials said it is unclear whether an alarm sounded inside the home, which might have alerted anyone inside.

Some 85 firefighters from several jurisdictions fought the fire. Davies said earlier that because there was no hydrant in the area, firefighters shuttled tankers to the site and stationed a fire boat at a pier nearby. He said hot spots took about 10 hours to extinguish Monday. One area flared up Tuesday, and Davies said crews were monitoring it and extinguishing it as needed.

Special Agent David Cheplak, a spokesman for the ATF's Baltimore field office, said earlier this week there were no immediate signs of foul play.

However, Capt. Robert Howarth, commander of the county fire department's fire and explosives investigation unit, said Tuesday that investigators were treating the site as a crime scene. 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.

State property records said the two-story house was built in 2005 with its seven bedrooms and 7 ½ bathrooms, then listed at $4.2 million. Davis said Tuesday that the house did not have a sprinkler system installed.

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From Tuesday:

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Before a massive blaze tore through a fanciful re-creation of a castle near Maryland's capital city, the riverfront mansion boasted turrets, a sprawling lawn and forested land that offered beauty and privacy.

The scene Tuesday was more reminiscent of a colonial ruin: a stark brick wall standing alone with windows missing, the ground rutted by emergency vehicles. A mountain of debris and tens of thousands of gallons of water filled the basement.

Crews in bright orange suits swarmed the scene where six members of a family were missing, and a huge crane arrived to begin sifting through the wreckage. Search dogs may be brought in to look for bodies and evidence, and fire officials suggested the process of discovering any victims from Monday's blaze could take days, not hours.

Investigators will likely begin searching Wednesday what remains of the 16,000-square-foot house, said Capt. Russ Davies, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

Davies declined to identify the family members. He said Tuesday only that relatives believe the six - a man and woman and their four grandchildren - were inside at the time of the fire.

"We know who's unaccounted for," Davies said. "If you look at the damage, you know, it would not be a stretch to think that if there were occupants that they did not survive the fire."

State property records show Don and Sandra Pyle owned the $6.2 million home and it was their primary residence. The company where Don Pyle was an executive, ScienceLogic of Reston, Virginia, confirmed there had been a fire at his home.

Davies said in an email Tuesday night that water in the basement, plus unstable steel beams and walls, made entering the basement dangerous.

Davies said once inside, crews will begin stabilizing the wreckage and pumping out the basement, which was flooded by water firefighters sprayed on the building. The mansion had no sprinkler system. Heavy equipment has been brought to the scene, he said.

"We're going to be talking about days, not hours, to get this done," Davies said.

The fire was reported about 3:30 a.m. Monday by an alarm-monitoring company and a neighbor who spotted flames. Officials said it is unclear whether an alarm sounded inside the home, which might have alerted anyone inside.

Some 85 firefighters from several jurisdictions fought the fire. Davies said because there was no hydrant in the area, firefighters shuttled tankers to the site and stationed a fire boat at a pier nearby. Davies said hot spots took about 10 hours to extinguish Monday. One area flared up Tuesday, and Davies said crews were monitoring it and extinguishing it as needed.

Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined the investigation. Special Agent David Cheplak, a spokesman for the bureau's Baltimore field office, said there was no evidence at this point of foul play.

Still, Capt. Robert Howarth, commander of the county fire department's fire and explosives investigation unit, said Tuesday that investigators were treating the site as a crime scene. 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.

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