- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fire investigators hope on Wednesday to begin to search the charred remains of a 16,000-square-foot Annapolis home for six family members who remain unaccounted for since the blaze engulfed the mansion early Monday.

Anne Arundel County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Russ Davies said the possibility of a structural collapse prevented crews from getting inside Tuesday. The department is bringing in cranes to move steel beams, and fire crews are working to either brace unstable walls or take down walls that are likely to fall.

Six people are unaccounted for, including Don Pyle, an executive at ScienceLogic, a company used to monitor the online networks of the FBI and the Department of Defense.

“We know who’s unaccounted for,” Capt. 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.”

Capt. Davies said the remains of the house are the “primary area that we’re going to look for the unaccounted for occupants.”

Crews hope to be able to set foot inside the building by 8 a.m. Wednesday, Capt. Davies said, but he cautioned the search will be slow going because of pockets of fire still hidden under the rubble.

“We’re going to be talking about days not hours to get this done,” Capt. Davies said.

The fire was reported about 3:30 a.m. Monday by an alarm monitoring company and a neighbor who spotted flames at the mansion. Capt. Davies said because there was no 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.

Capt. Davies said that hot spots took about 10 hours to extinguish before operations were scaled back around nightfall. One part of the scene was still flaring up Tuesday, and Capt. Davies said crews were monitoring it and extinguishing it as needed.

The mansion had no sprinkler system, officials said.

Once investigators get inside the home, they hope to be able to determine what caused the fire.

Special Agent David Cheplak, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Baltimore field office, said there was no evidence at this point of foul play.

⦁ This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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