Anne Arundel County(Md.) fire officials said Tuesday that fire continues to smolder in the lower level of the 16,000-square-foot home belonging to Donald Pyle, Chief Operating Officer of Reston’s ScienceLogic.
Pyle, 55, his wife and four grandchildren remain missing after the blaze completely destroyed the $6.2-million mansion near Annapolis early on Monday. More than 85 firefighters were called to the four-alarm fire.
Anne Arundel County fire investigator Robert Howarth said the six will remain classified as “missing and unaccounted for” until investigators see evidence that they were killed in the fire.
Investigators have not yet been able to enter the home to look for victims due to the active fire and the lack of necessary machinery to lift giant support beams that fell into the basement, Howarth said.
“They are officially missing,” he said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “We do not declare anyone deceased until we know for sure and recover evidence. … There are six people unaccounted for — and we still do not have 100 percent proof they are in the house. But the house is where we will focus [the investigation].’
Howarth said the fire is being investigated as a crime scene, mainly because there are no witnesses as to how to fire started.
Officials said there are unique challenges in searching a 16,000-square-foot home and that the investigation is more like a commercial fire investigation. They will be bringing in heavy equipment on Tuesday that will enable crews to remove and inspect debris, as well as search for victims. The investigation could take several days, department spokesman Russ Davies said.
Donald Pyle was hired last fall as chief operating officer at ScienceLogic, a cybersecurity company that monitors networks for private and government clients, including the Department of Defense.
Firefighters at the remains of home belonging to Reston-based exec Donald Pyle/Credit: NBC News via Twitter