(T-G Photo by David Melson)
The victims have been identified by family members as Leon "Bubba" McClaran, 72, his wife Molly McClaran, 70, and their grandchildren Chloe Pope, 9 and Gage "Buster" Daniel, 7.
One of the bodies was recovered early this morning and a second shortly before noon Monday, Sheriff Randall Boyce said at midday.
"We think the bodies that have been found are those of the grandfather and grandmother," Boyce said Monday afternoon.
Searchers thought a third body had been found early Monday afternoon but it was determined to be that of an animal, probably a dog, Boyce said.
Leon McClaran had just turned 72 earlier this month, his son, Leon McClaran Jr., said.
McClaran is known by longtime area residents as the owner of the Pizza Villa restaurant in the 1970s.
"He was a hard worker, willing to help everybody," Lisa Adams, his daughter, said through tears. "He was someone who would give someone the shirt off his back if he could."
"Molly was a great woman. They were raising those two kids. I always heard they were doing a great job," McClaran Jr. said.
The children were described as "wonderful" by family members.
"Gage liked to be perched up on the Gator (all-terrain vehicle) with his granddaddy. He was like Dad's shadow," McClaran Jr. said. "Chloe was a sweet little girl with beautiful eyes."
The home, at the end of a gravel path several hundred yards off the road, was fully engulfed when a passerby notified authorities at approximately 10:30 p.m.
(T-G Photo by David Melson)
The searchers include members of the Bedford County Sheriff's Department, firefighters and workers from the state fire marshal's office, Boyce said.
Only a few of the walls were standing by the time firefighters arrived on scene.
Those firefighters were forced to stand and watch the home burn for some time after initial efforts due to lack of water and access.
A Unionville firefighter described the situation as a "worst-case scenario" as no hydrants are nearby and large fire trucks could barely squeeze into the space between the home and fences.
Firefighters eventually set up a large plastic water trough near the home from which to draw water.
Red Cross Disaster Action Team members from the Heart of Tennessee Chapter brought coffee, snacks and water for emergency responders and family members on the scene during the cold, pre-sunrise hours early Monday. By midday, a parade of neighbors and friends were bringing food and water as grieving family members sat beside a gravel road on the property for hours while the bodies were recovered.
"Our hearts go out to those family members who have lost their loved ones in the fire," said Executive Director Mike Cowles in a press release. "In the wake of this tragedy, the American Red Cross strongly encourages community members to check their smoke detectors and review their family disaster plans now to ensure that they are ready and able to prepare for, prevent and respond to house fires and other disasters."