A millionaire tech CEO is dead after a massive fire killed him, his wife and their four grandchildren, at his mansion in Maryland. The fire, which killed Don Pyle and his wife, Sandra, as well as their grandkids, has been described as “suspicious” by authorities. The fire began in the early hours of January 19 in Annapolis and raged for hours.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. So Far 5 Bodies Have Been Recovered From the House
The deaths of the family members was confirmed by the children’s school. The principal of the Severn School, a $17,000 a year prep school, sent a letter to parents about the fire. Douglas Lagarde, the headmaster, wrote, “Tomorrow will be the first of many opportunities we, as a school, will provide for our kids to come together, and I emphasize, if they feel the need to,” reports the Capital Gazette. On January 21, fire officials announced that two bodies had been recovered from the home. The following day, two more were recovered. Late on the afternoon of January 23, a fifth body was located. As of 5 p.m. Eastern on January 23, one body remains missing. Officials haven’t said which person is still missing.
2. Sniffer Dogs Are Searching for a Trace of Chemicals in the Rubble of the Home
Massive 4-alarm fire destroys $9M mansion in Annapolis; 6 residents unaccounted for
The fire is being regarded as “suspicious” due to the speed at which it engulfed the 16,000 square foot home. An Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms source, speaking to CNN, said that the agency are looking into the possibility that an accelerant was used to spread the fire. Sniffer dogs have been deployed around the rubble of the home to try to find traces of chemicals. NBC Washington reported on January 28 that the fire had been started by Christmas lights. Sandra Pyle was known to leave her Christmas tree up long after the holidays.
3. One Tech Company That Don Pyle Managed Sold for $4.2 Billion
According to an interview that Don Pyle did with the Washington Post in October 2014, he’s a native of Baltimore County in Maryland. He told the Post that he began in sales before moving into a management role with several tech companies. The interview was done as Pyle had just joined ScienceLogic, an IT company based in Virginia. The company is in tech support. He adds in the interview that the first tech company he managed, StrataCom, sold for $4.2 billion to Cisco Systems in 1997. A source told Heavy.com, that Pyle didn’t make much from that sale and that he made most of his money while working for Juniper Networks.
On his LinkedIn page, Don Pyle says that he previously worked for Cisco Systems, Netcordia and WealthEngine.
4. The Pyle’s Home Was a Mixture of a Beach House & a Castle
According to public records, the home, at 936 Childs Point Road, was valued at $4.8 million. It covered 16,386 feet, was two stories and was built in 2005. The family’s home, by the Chesapeake Bay, was a compromise of what Don and Sandy both wanted. The Baltimore Sun reportsthat she wanted a castle and he wanted a beach house. The paper describes the house as being “a large house that looks a lot like a castle, with mini-turrets, stonework and lion statues out front.” Sandra Pyle had two adult children from a previous relationship.
5. The Couple Held a Famous Wine Tasting Every Year at the Home
According to her Facebook page, Sandy Pyle is a native of Maryland, growing up in Ellicot City where she went to Howard High School. The couple held a charity wine tasting at the home annually. According to a friend of the Pyle’s, Anura Guruge, close pals referred to Don as “Gomer.” He adds that Sandra was “very good at telling jokes, many at Gomer’s expense.”