SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. — A fire killed a couple and two step-grandchildren they were raising in an old farm house a half-hour southwest of Nashville.
Family members identified the couple as 72-year-old Leon "Bubba" McClaran and his 70-year-old wife, Molli McClaran. The family said the children were 9-year-old Chloe Pope and 7-year-old Gage Daniels.
Someone passing the McClaran's farm in Bedford County saw the home enveloped in flames Sunday night and called for help.
Mary Lamb said Leon McClaran was her younger brother and the property was part of the family farm where they all grew up. McClaran was the second-oldest of six siblings.
Lamb said her brother doted on the boy, who the family called "Buster."
"That little boy went everywhere with him," Lamb said.
Asked why the couple were raising their step-grandchildren, family members said simply that the children needed a home.
Cynthia Sudberry, also a sister of Leon McClaran, said her brother helped anyone who needed help. She said he made sure she had enough money while she recovered from surgery.
Sister Sherry Hobbs was also waiting near the end of a long lane leading back to the couple's home and she recalled her brother's kindness to her.
"When my husband died, he helped me with the farm," Hobbs said. "He would stop by every day and check on me."
Lamb said the family got together often and had celebrated Leon's birthday earlier this month.
"We have lots of good memories right here," she said. "This the homeplace where we were all raised. "
It was not immediately clear what started the fire.
As authorities investigated Monday morning, smoke could still be seen rising from the ruins where the two-story house had collapsed into the basement.
At least one set of remains had been found.