Autopsy results pending on human remains found at fire site

June 08, 2011|By DON AINES |
  • Autopsy results are pending on human remains found in the rubble of a burned house in Clear Spring Tuesday.
Herald-Mail file photo

With the autopsy results still pending, questions remained Wednesday about the human remains found in the rubble of a burned house in Clear Spring Tuesday, including identification of the victim, the cause of death and how the fire started.

The remains were found at about noon Tuesday as insurance company investigators, the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office and a private contractor was sifting through the debris at 15219 Fairview Road.

A spokeswoman for the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Wednesday that results of the autopsy on the remains were pending. A voice mail left with the doctor who was believed to have conducted the autopsy was not returned.

The house was rented by Robin McMullen, who was out of state attending a training class when the fire was reported at about 5 a.m. on Friday, May 27, according to the fire marshal's office.

 The house was engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived, investigators said.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Bruce D. Bouch said Wednesday that state and insurance investigators were working at the scene together to try and determine what caused the fire when the remains were found.

The discovery of the remains interrupted that part of the investigation, and the cause of the blaze was still unknown, he said.

The fire caused the roof and first- and second-floors of the house to collapse into the basement. That, and the continued smoldering of the ruins, made it unsafe for investigators to enter the building on the day of the fire.

Depending on the condition of the remains and other factors, the identification of the remains could require DNA analysis, Bouch said Tuesday.

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