This story just broke my heart—one of the worst I’ve ever covered.
When we first arrived to the huge fire – we thought it was just that – a fire and a huge loss of property. But after a few hours – it became clear, this was a tragedy: Grandparents and their 4 kids were unaccounted for. Stories posted below.
ATF agents are out at the scene of a massive fire in Annapolis on child’s point road. The fire started at 330 in the morning on Monday, and ripped through the 16,000 square foot home known to neighbors as “the castle.”
The ATF Special Response Team was requested by the Anne Arundel county fire department, according to officials, because they specialize in investigating fires in large dwellings as well as fire and arson investigations.
It’s still not clear if there were any victims, firefighters are simply saying there are 6 people unaccounted for.
“It leaves a big hold, not just in the scenery, but knowing that somebody belongs up the street,” says neighbor Caroline Wugofski.
As the sun came up this morning, smoke still rising from the ashes, that hole became even more obvious.
“They are part of our little family, this neighborhood is close,” says Wugofski. “We all take care of each other.” That much is clear in the collection of teddy bears and flowers set up outside the gate.
Meanwhile, investigators are back out at the scene, still unable to get inside the ruins and search. It’s not clear where the fire started or how, but firefighters say there were no sprinklers in the home. “The roof the first floor, the 2nd floor, all the contents are now in the basement,” says Captain Russ Davies with the Anne Arundel county fire department. “This is going to be a tedious search that will require heavy equipment.
In between those layers are hot spots and structural instabilities and the building isn’t safe to enter. At this point investigators are treating this as a crime scene, even though there is no sign of foul play so far. “There is potential, if we locate people that there are fatalities inside. And since we don’t know the circumstances it would be considered an unintended death,” says captain Davies. “From interviews with family, the reasonable assumption at this point is they were inside the home. Our primary focus is the dwelling but that doesn’t mean we’ve given up on any other avenues.”
Feared dead—Don and Sandy Pyle who lived there and 4 children, who neighbors say were their grandchildren. Neighbors tell us they can’t imagine anyone hurting.
“They are homegrown people. They are nice. Generous. You couldn’t not like them,” says Wugofski.
Something else unimaginable, how this could have happened in ‘the Castle.’ “He had a smart house that was supposed to take care of these things,” says Wugofski. “It’s sad. I’m not going around with tears running down the front but they are back there. I just keep hoping s phone message got dropped and they will show up.”