Agents with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms joined Cherokee County investigators at the scene of Wednesday's deadly house fire in Ball Ground, GA.
They were looking for clues into what started the fire.
"The house, it's totally ruined. Everything is damaged but they are still having to go through it with a fine-toothed comb.
They brought in some heavy machinery today that is pulling out larger objects, and they are going through it piece-by-piece," said Lt. Jay Baker, with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.
Investigators say the fire broke out shortly after 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. Firefighters say they arrived on the scene within minutes, but it was too late.
The say the flames and heat were so intense almost nothing survived. Three victims were later found in the rubble. Detectives say the bodies were burned beyond recognition.
The medical examiner is conducting an autopsy that detectives hope will shed light on whether the victims were alive or dead before the fire.
"Anything that the medical examiner provides the detectives from the autopsy is going to affect where the investigation goes from here," Baker said.
Because of the condition of the bodies, the victims have not yet been positively identified, but sheriff's deputies say 49-year-old Ricky Norrell, his wife, 46-year-old Darlene and their 19-year-old daughter Lindsey, live in the house and have not been seen or heard from since the fire.
"We don't have anything at this moment that leads us to believe there was any type of foul play or anything, but certainly everything is open right now and being investigated to see exactly what happened. We'll let the evidence take us where it may," said Baker.
Baker says he hopes the medical examiner can positively identify the victims by the end of the week, but he says due to the condition of the bodies that process could take even longer.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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