Chloie Leverette, 9, (left) and Gage Daniel, 7, (right)
The kids' grandparents died in the house fire
(WMC-TV) – An Amber Alert is in effect for the two children who went missing after their grandparents' home went up in flames Sunday.
The children, Chloie Leverette, 9, and Gage Daniel, 7, were first reported as being endangered Wednesday. That alert has now been upgraded to an Amber Alert.
The two were last seen at about 6:30 p.m. by a neighbor in Unionville, Tennessee where the kids lived with their grandparents.
The family's home was destroyed by fire at 9:30 p.m.
Crews said they are sifting through ashes by hand at the burned home of the children's step-grandparents, Leon McClaran, 72, and 70-year-old Molly McClaran, who died in the fire. So far, they have found no evidence that the kids became victims of the blaze.
The TBI said they're working on a lot of leads in the case, but it has not yielded any results. All of the interviews they've conducted indicate the two missing children were actually in the house at the time of the fire.
But, state bomb and arson investigators had said Wednesday that the children were not victims of the fire and their whereabouts are unknown at this time.
"They feel like they don't have solid evidence right now to assume that these children were in the fire," TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said Wednesday.
Officials also say they found at least 20 propane tanks in the house, which probably made the fire much worse. They do not suspect arson, but they said they may never know what started the fire in the first place.
Crews are using helicopters and searching the nearby woods to see if the children escaped the fire.
"To err on the side of caution, as far as law enforcement is concerned, we feel like we can leave no stone unturned and just try to follow every lead that we can to ensure that they're not somewhere else," Helm said. "I don't know where else they would be. They were a close knit family."
Chloie is 4'8" tall and weighs about 75 pounds. She has brown hair and hazel eyes. Gage also has brown hair and hazel eyes. He is about 4'0" tall and weighs about 50 pounds.
If you have any information concerning the children, please contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.
Our sister station WSMV contributed to this report.