Victims of Annapolis fire remembered

Story highlights

  • Relatives remember two adults and four children thought to have died in the fire
  • Relatives have identified four children thought to have perished
  • Technology executive Don Pyle owned the house

(CNN)Before a deadly fire that burned a home in Annapolis, Maryland, technology executive Don Pyle and his wife, Sandra, spent a day with their four grandchildren. The day included shopping for costumes, dinner at the Medieval Times restaurant and a sleepover at Pyle's waterfront mansion.

Monday was a school holiday, and the children -- Alexis (Lexi) Boone, 8; Kaitlyn (Katie) Boone, 7; Charlotte Boone, 8; and Wesley (Wes) Boone, 6 -- stayed over, a family spokeswoman said.
Pyle, his wife and the four grandchildren are now feared dead after a suspicious fire destroyed the mansion early Monday morning. Authorities have recovered four bodies from the ruins. They continue to search for the others.
    The smiling grandchildren and their grandparents are seen in images released by family members, who described a boundless and unconditional bond between the victims.
    Alexis (Lexi) Boone, 8 and Kaitlyn (Katie) Boone, 7, are among four grandchildren of  technology executive Don Pyle and his wife, Sandra, who are thought to have perished in a fire in  Annapolis, Maryland.
    • Lexi loved her sister and new baby brother, her classmates, field hockey, lacrosse and ice skating, the family said in a statement Friday.
    "She was thoughtful, social, smart, and determined," according to the family. "She loved her dog Sophie. Her favorite adventures included trips with her parents, grandparents, and cousins. Lexi wanted to be a vet or on television when she grew up. She was going to be famous."
    • Katie loved her family and her new brother, the statement said. She was described as a kind and compassionate girl who enjoyed soccer, gymnastics, ice skating and singing to Taylor Swift. Her recent adventures included her birthday party with the Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders and a trip to New York City.
    "Having just turned 7, she was loving and thoughtful beyond her years," the statement said.
    Charlotte Boone, 8, is among the four grandchildren thought to have died in the fire.
    • Charlotte loved her family, horses, basketball and swimming. Her friend held a special place in her heart, the statement said.
    "She was fun-loving, intelligent, and kind," the statement said. "She wanted to be known as a gamer with an epic love of Minecraft. Charlotte loved making videos with her guinea pig, Oreo. Charlotte's future dreams were to run an animal rescue."
    Wesley (Wes) Boone, 6, is also thought to have died in the mansion fire.
    • Wes loved his friends and family, Doctor Who, Legos, Minecraft, Plants vs Zombies and swimming, according to the family.
    "Wes was sweet and loving and looked up to his older sister immensely. He loved all his friends and he especially looked forward to seeing his classmates at school every day. He loved trips to the beach with his family. In his future, Wes wanted to build robots."
    Sandy and Don Pyle are thought to have perished along with their four grandchildren.
    • Pyle loved his family, especially the grandchildren, according to the family. They affectionately called him "Pop-Pop." He treated friends as family and enjoyed long-term friendships from high school. His also liked fishing, golf, skiing and entertaining.
    "Don loved the Ravens, Orioles, and Delaware Blue Hens Lacrosse. Don also cherished traveling with his wife."
    • To his wife, Sandy, each grandchild occupied a special place in her heart, according to the family. They called her "Dee-Dee." For her, too, friends were like family. She was passionate about the Ravens, Orioles, the beach and travel.
    "She was a one-of-a-kind original -- fun-loving, caring, and generous. She loved every animal, especially her rescue dogs, and contributed to numerous animal welfare groups. Sandy was incredibly sensitive to the needs of others and generous beyond words."

    Search for bodies continues

    On Thursday, two bodies were retrieved from the ruins of the mansion, authorities said. Two other bodies were recovered the day before.
    The remains were taken to a medical examiner's officer for autopsies and identification, Anne Arundel County Fire Department Capt. Russ Davies said in a statement.
    "There are still two occupants unaccounted for," he said. "This remains a complex scene and much work remains to be done."
    The family of the victims also released a statement Thursday.
    "On behalf of the Boone and Pyle families, we wish to express our gratitude and appreciation for the love and support being shared with us during this tragic event," the family's statement said. "We are blessed that so many family, friends and neighbors have come together for us in our time of need."
    The Thursday statement confirmed the identities of the six people firefighters and others have been searching for in the ruins of the waterfront home.
    "Our love for our family is boundless," the statement said. "Our loss demands time and quiet reflection to process these feelings. We ask that you respect our need for privacy. Life is fragile. Make time today to embrace your loved ones."
    'Suspicious' fire engulfs mansion, 6 missing
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      'Suspicious' fire engulfs mansion, 6 missing


    'Suspicious' fire engulfs mansion, 6 missing 01:52
    Local and federal officials were able to secure the structure and access the foundation of the 16,000-square-foot house Wednesday. Cadaver dogs led them to the bodies, officials said.
    Officials would not discuss where the bodies were or possible causes of death.
    Authorities are treating the house as a crime scene. Officials said it is standard procedure for a case such as this, and no evidence has been found to indicate suspicious activity.
    The house belonged to Pyle, chief operating officer for ScienceLogic, company spokesman Antonio Piraino said.
    The sheer size of the structure -- and the fact that three-fourths of it had collapsed into the basement, with deep piles of debris still smoldering -- compounded the search, Anne Arundel County Fire Capt. Robert Howarth said Tuesday. He is leading the investigation, along with a team from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
    The sheer size of the mansion has compounded the search for the missing, an official says.
    "You're looking at five standard houses put together," he said Tuesday. "This is more of a commercial fire than it is a residential fire. There are a lot of businesses that aren't 16,000 square feet. That adds to it."
    Pyle had not been heard from Monday, and his colleagues at ScienceLogic were "hoping for a miracle," CNN affiliate WJLA-TV in Washington reported.
    Heavy equipment was brought in to aid in the search for victims and clues, a process that could take days.
    "We have some very unique challenges with this house," Howarth said. "The construction of the house contained a lot of very heavy materials. We're looking at some steel beams that weigh in the area of 7 tons."
    When the first firefighters arrived early Monday, they received conflicting reports about whether the family may have been out of town. But after interviews with relatives, it was determined that six members of the family were missing, fire officials said.
    Fire officials said they were alerted to the fire about 3:30 a.m. Monday. About 80 firefighters responded.
    The ATF national response team responded because the fire was deemed suspicious, Howarth said.
    The Fire Department said crews had difficulty putting out the fire because the house is secluded, apparently with no fire hydrants on the scene.
    Fire crews had difficulty battling the blaze because the house is so secluded.
    Photos the Fire Department posted on Twitter showed hoses stretched for long distances. Davies said it took hours for department tanker trucks and a fire boat on an adjacent creek to bring the fire under control.
    Pyle's company biography described him as an industry veteran who held multiple CEO positions, with more than 25 years' experience in information technology infrastructure software and hardware management.
    Pyle told The Washington Post last year that after holding positions in a family business, he decided to look for an "industry that was in its infancy and something that would have growth potential." He started in a sales position in a firm that connected computers over transmission lines, and later sold both hardware and software components for the Internet.
    Pyle told the newspaper he eventually moved from sales to sales management to general management positions. In 1992, the company went public and was sold to Cisco Systems five years later for $4.2 billion, according to the Post.