- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fire officials said they are not expecting to find survivors in an Annapolis home that burned down in the early hours of Monday morning.

They said it’s still yet to be determined if the building was occupied, but that if anyone was inside, they likely did not survive the four-alarm blaze that brought close to a hundred firefighters to the scene.

Six people are unaccounted for in the home, including Don and Sandy Pyle, a wealthy couple whose businesses have contracts with the Pentagon and Justice Department.

According to Captain Russ Davies, Anne Arundel County Fire Department spokesman, the first crews to arrive on the scene Monday morning did try to enter the 16,000-square-foot house, but were forced to turn back when the building started to collapse.

Since then, firefighters have not set foot inside the structure, though Mr. Davies said crews should be able to enter later in the day Wednesday.

“The thought process is we’re getting close to a point where sometime today people can get in there,” he said.

One of the biggest problems crews are facing is concern over the integrity of the remaining walls. Officials said they spent most of the day Tuesday bolstering walls to make sure they would not fall over, and bringing in large cranes to move chunks of debris.

“This house is built more like a commercial property than a residential home,” Mr. Davies said. “It’s got some very heavy steel I-beams. It’s got a couple at or over seven tons.”

Mr. Davies said it is difficult to know when fire crews would be able to determine whether the building was occupied, and what the cause of the fire might be.

“There’s a lot of debris to remove and go through,” he said.

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