Annapolis mansion fire that killed six laid to two-month old Christmas tree; 911 calls released

 

Childs Point Road Fire 911 calls

(Millersville, MD) The Anne Arundel County Fire Department has received multiple requests from media outlets requesting the 911 calls reporting the January 19th dwelling fire at 936 Childs Point Road.  Previously, the requests were denied due to the ongoing investigation.  With the determination of an accidental fire cause, the department is releasing the three calls received by our Fire Communications reporting the fire.

The three calls were received on January 19th, 2015 at 3:32, 3:34 and 3:41 a.m.  The call at 3:32 a.m. was received from an alarm monitoring company reporting the receipt of a smoke alarm from the residence.  The second call is from a neighbor, followed by a third call from a resident across the South River.

Chief Graves Statement Regarding Childs Point Road

(Millersville, MD)  Below is the statement delivered this afternoon by Anne Arundel County Fire Chief Allan C. Graves regarding the Childs Point Road fire:

“Good afternoon.

First let me express for the men and women of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department our deepest condolences to the Pyle and Boone families. Our collective hearts break for the tragedy that you have to bear.

As you know, on Monday afternoon the investigation team recovered a sixth body from the fire scene at 936 Childs Point Rd.  The team has been working diligently under very difficult circumstances since the fire occurred more than one week ago.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has positively identified the victims as the six people who were reported to be in the house at the time of the fire. They are:

Don Pyle – age 56

Sandra Pyle – age 63

Alexis Boone – age 8

Kaitlyn Boone – age 7

Charlotte Boone – age 8

Wesley Boone – age 6

 

An All Hazards Response Organization, Committed to Your Safety

While the search for the victims was in progress, a concurrent investigation at the fire scene and elsewhere was conducted to determine where the fire started and its cause.

The investigation team has determined the area where the fire started was in the “Great Room” of the home. This is a large room that has ceilings approximately 19 feet tall. Sleeping and living areas of the home are connected to the great room. Within the great room were the normal expected furnishings in addition to a large Christmas tree approximately 15 feet tall.

The investigation team has concluded that an electrical failure ignited combustible material in the area which quickly spread to the Christmas tree and furnishings.

It has been reported that the Christmas tree had been cut down more than sixty days prior to the fire. After a tree is cut, it begins to dry. How quickly it dries depends on the type of tree, how it was cut and how often it is watered while on display.

The involvement of the Christmas tree explains the heavy fire conditions found by the first arriving fire crews.

I would personally like to acknowledge the difficult work performed by our County Fire Marshal,

Deputy Chief Scott Hoglander; the Commander of our Fire Investigation Unit, Captain Bob

Howarth; the Lead Investigators, Lieutenant Brian Mayers and Special Agent Lisa Herb of the ATF; and Public Information Officer, Captain Russ Davies. This has been a difficult week for them and all of the investigation team and I am very proud to be associated with such a dedicated group of professionals.

I would also like to thank our investigation team partners – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, The Anne Arundel County Police Department, The Maryland State Fire Marshal’s

Office, The Annapolis Fire Department and Fire Marshal’s Office, Montgomery County Fire Investigation Unit and The Prince George’s County Fire Investigation Unit.

I would also like to recognize the following:  the Anne Arundel County Police Department for providing scene security and personnel who moved literally tons of debris by hand in addition to their role of being part of the investigation team; Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Wes Adams and his office for their help obtaining documents needed for a thorough investigation; Bay Area Search and Recovery Canines, Mason Dixon Rescue Dogs, and Mid-Atlantic DOGS for the search dogs used to help locate the victims; and The Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works for the heavy excavating equipment.”

 

BLAME FOR BLAZE LAID ON DRIED OUT CHRISTMAS TREE

Four Alarm Fire Destroys Annapolis Home

 

A large, multi-million dollar home in Annapolis has been destroyed in an early morning fire.  Around 3:30 this morning, Anne Arundel Fire Communications was notified by an alarm monitoring company of a fire alarm sounding in a residence in the 900 block of Childs Point Road, Annapolis.  Around the time of that call, an additional 911 call from a neighbor reported flames visible from the residence.

Childs Point fire AACFD

Childs Point fire AACFD

 

The first arriving company reported a large, single family dwelling with fire on the first and second floor and roof.  Due to the size of the house (16,000 square feet), volume of fire and the area lacking fire hydrants, a second and third alarm were requested.  Firefighters made efforts to search the dwelling but were pushed back by high heat, a collapsing floor and failing roof structure.  A fourth alarm was later requested, bringing a total of 85 firefighters to the scene from Anne Arundel County, Annapolis City and the Naval Academy.

Childs Point search for six victims AACFD

Childs Point search for six victims AACFD

 

The first units arriving on the scene received conflicting reports about the status of the occupants of the dwelling; some reports indicating that they were home, and others suggesting they were out of town.  After interviews with family, it has been determined that six members of the family are not accounted for.  Continuing active fire in the dwelling and the concern of the stability of the structure prohibited placing personnel inside the structure today to begin a search for occupants.

 

The fire was declared under control in just over three hours; however units remained on the scene extinguishing hot spots for another ten hours before scaling back operations for the night.  An engine company and Anne Arundel County Police will be remaining on location through the night.

 

The Anne Arundel County Fire/Explosive Investigation Bureau will be the lead investigating agency for the incident.  Investigators were unable to enter the structure today due to the same active fire and structural integrity issues that prevented an earlier search for occupants.  There are currently no indications that this fire is suspicious in nature.  It is anticipated that the financial loss from the fire will be in the millions of dollars. Due to the size of the dwelling and the number of people not accounted for, assistance has been requested from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team.  This will bring resources and additional fire investigators to assist in the investigation.

 

Activities on the scene will resume on Tuesday morning.  No additional information will be released prior to that time.

 

Updated:  January 20, 2015 7:15 p.m.

 

There were no significant developments overnight.  Fire crews and County Police remained on location to monitor hot spots and maintain security of the scene.

 

The six occupants remain missing and unaccounted for.  Following interviews with the family indicating that the house was their last known location, the house will be the primary focus of the searching.  However, this is an active investigation and any lead that may suggest the occupant’s location elsewhere will be followed up on.

 

During the day on Tuesday, work was in progress at the site to allow for searchers and investigators to enter the house on Wednesday.  Heavy equipment has been brought in to the scene.  There are issues of water in the basement, unstable steel beams and unstable walls that need to be mitigated before personnel can be placed in to the basement to begin digging out.  Members of the ATF’s National Response Team began arriving in the area to assemble their team.

 

The next media briefing will occur on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Annapolis Neck Fire Station, located at 991 Bay Ridge Road, Annapolis.  In the event that developments occur that require an earlier briefing, notice will be issued by press release and via the Departmental Twitter account @AACoFD.

 

 

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Updated:  January 21, 2015 8:30 p.m.

 

This morning we were able to secure the structure to make it safe for investigators to enter.  A search with a cadaver canine resulted in positive alerts.  As investigators started to process the scene, we located the bodies of two individuals.  The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner took possession of the bodies and transported them to Baltimore for autopsy and identification.

 

Operations inside the dwelling were suspended when darkness set in.  Work will continue tomorrow morning.

 

We would like to acknowledge our public safety partners assisting us:  the Anne Arundel County Police, the Maryland State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the City of Annapolis Fire Marshal’s Office and the Prince George’s County Fire Marshal’s Office.  We would also like to acknowledge supporting agencies:  the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works and Bay Area Recovery Canines.

 

There is still a lot of work to be done.  This is a massive effort and will take days.  As we develop information we will continue to brief the media as we are in a position to do so.  We will provide updates as appropriate.

 

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Updated:  January 22, 2015 5:00 p.m.

 

Fire Investigators continued operations at the fire site today.  They were able to locate the bodies of two more people.  As occurred yesterday, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner took possession of the bodies and transported them to Baltimore for autopsy and identification.  There are still two occupants unaccounted for and missing.

 

This remains a complex scene and much work remains to be done.  Operations are ending for today and will resume tomorrow when lighting allows.  As the investigation in happening in parallel with the search, no additional details will be made available regarding today’s activities.

 

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Updated: January 23, 2015 5:00 p.m.

 

Operations resumed at the site of the fire this morning.  Investigators were able to locate one more victim.  As has occurred previously, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner took possession of the body and transported it to Baltimore for autopsy and identification.  There is still one occupant not accounted for.  The search will resume Saturday.

 

The Anne Arundel County Fire Department and personnel on the scene would like to thank the residents and neighbors in the area of the fire for their continued patience and understanding through these operations.  Although operations have been conducted with a goal of minimizing disruption to the community, some disruption has been unavoidable.  We would also like to thank several local businesses who have generously provided support to personnel on the scene.  They will be acknowledged in greater detail at a more appropriate time.

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