Grandparents, Grandchildren Believed Dead In Bedford Co. Fire - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Grandparents, Grandchildren Believed Dead In Bedford Co. Fire

Posted: Updated: Sep 25, 2012 06:22 AM CDT
Sky 5 HD flew over the scene Monday of a house fire on Kingdom Road that claimed the life of four people on Sunday night. Sky 5 HD flew over the scene Monday of a house fire on Kingdom Road that claimed the life of four people on Sunday night.

by Adam Ghassemi

UNIONVILLE, Tenn. - Four people were presumed dead in a house fire so hot officials said the walls collapsed in on themselves. Officials believed a couple in the 70s and their two young grandchildren perished in the fire.

Firefighters responded to the house on Kingdom Road in Unionville, Bedford County Sunday around 10:30 p.m. after a passerby saw the flames and called emergency dispatch.

By the time firefighters got to the scene the house was already destroyed. They said it could have been burning for some time before anyone saw the flames.

Officials believed the fire started shortly after 72-year-old Leon McClaran and his wife, Molly, went to bed. Both were killed. The couple's two grandchildren, 9-year-old Chloie Leverette and 7-year-old Gage Daniel, were also believed to have died in the fire.

Family members had to wait as investigators picked through what was left of the home to find the victims' bodies.

McClaran's son said they were all having a hard time believing what happened.

"It's got all of us in a state of shock right now. It'll probably hit later. We're just having to deal with it right now," said Leon McClaran, Jr.

Investigators spent much of Monday trying to recover all four bodies. They believed the one-story home's full basement helped fuel the fire.

"The outside of the walls and everything fell in, which made it extremely hot." said Sheriff Randall Boyce. "It was just sucking air up in it. Man, it went. It went."

The extreme heat made it nearly impossible to find little Gage, who family members said had special needs.

The house was in a rural part of Bedford County and had no fire hydrants nearby, meaning firefighters had to truck water in just to get the fire under control.

"They had several fire departments from local counties around here close that were bringing their tankers and dumping water for us," said Boyce.

Officials said it was difficult for crews to search through the blackened and charred home to look for the victims.

"You hate for grown-ups to die in a fire, but it's (even more) difficult when it's two kids," said Boyce.

Investigators said it was difficult to recover any remains. They found the bodies of the adults after a family member drew a map of the home, which let rescuers know where the bedrooms used to be.

Crews searched much of the day, but they were unable to find the children. At one point they thought they found the young girl, but it turned out to be the body of the family dog.

Boyce said crews had to quit for the day after searching all night long to get some rest. They planned to return to the home Tuesday morning with a cadaver dog and forensic anthropology team from Middle Tennessee State University to help recover the children.

Investigators were not able to immediately determine the cause of the fire.

Email: aghassemi@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5AdamGhassemi
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