The tedious sifting of ashes in an effort to find two children thought to have died in a Kingdom Road house fire Sunday night was unsuccessful Tuesday, but investigators aren't yet completely giving up hope.
"We'll be back today with a team of cadaver dogs," Bedford County Fire Chief Mark Thomas said. "They worked at the World Trade Center after Sept. 11."
'"We'll give it another shot," Thomas said.
Efforts to find Chloe Pope, 9, and Gage Daniel, 7, will be cut back after today, authorities said. The remains of Leon and Molly McClaran, the children's grandparents with whom they lived, were recovered from the farmhouse Monday.
A Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter containing a thermal imaging device may be flown over the home and surrounding area today, Sheriff Randall Boyce said.
"It was discussed Tuesday by the state fire marshal's office," Boyce said. "We're not sure if they're coming."
If the flight takes place the pilot will also be checking to see if the children may be in fence rows, Boyce said.
"If they're not found we're just going to declare them missing and go from there," the sheriff said.
Boyce said he does not think the children survived the fire. Several investigators have mentioned the intense heat and its effects on finding remains.
A team from Middle Tennessee State University's forensic science program worked Tuesday with representatives of the Bedford County Sheriff's Department, Bedford County Fire Department and the state fire marshal's office in search of Chloe and Gage. They spent the day sifting through the ashes and charred wreckage of the two-story home.
Firefighters from the Bedford County and Unionville departments fought the flames along with trucks from Chapel Hill and three from Rutherford County, Thomas said.
The fire's origin will remain unknown, Thomas said.
"It will be ruled undetermined," the fire chief said. "Everything had fallen into the basement by the time we arrived."