MILLERSVILLE, MD. — Investigators say an electrical fire spread to a Christmas tree, prompting a massive blaze that reduced a riverfront mansion near Maryland's capital to ruins and killed six people.
Anne Arundel County Fire Department Chief Allan Graves said Wednesday in a statement that the Jan. 19 blaze began when an electrical fire ignited combustible materials that spread to a 15-foot-tall Christmas tree that had been cut more than 60 days earlier.
The overnight fire killed an Annapolis couple and four of their young grandchildren, who were spending the night.
Investigators have recovered six bodies from the rubble. Authorities identified the dead Wednesday as software executive Don Pyle and his wife, Sandra; and grandchildren Lexi Boone, 8, Katie Boone, 7, Charlotte Boone, 8, and Wes Boone, 6.
The Pyle and Boone families put out a joint statement Tuesday afternoon thanking emergency personnel for their work and the community for its support. They also asked for privacy.
"We are relieved that our loved ones have all been recovered," the families said. "We thank the men, women and canine service animals who have worked so tirelessly to bring them home to us. Though we are grieving deeply, this has brought us some small sense of closure. We take comfort in that they are now together, and we can begin to mend our hearts."
Associated Press and the Baltimore Sun contributed