Police are preparing to enter the fire-ravaged Shropshire home of a millionaire and his family amid fears that their bodies are inside.
Investigators are treating the blaze, which took hold of the secluded country estate in the early hours of Tuesday, as arson.
It is feared Christopher Foster, his wife Jill and their 15-year-old daughter Kirstie perished in the fire, but the damage to their house in Maesbrook, near Oswestry, is so bad that search teams have not yet been able to enter it.
Police said they hope to do so on Thursday evening or Friday, but added the search of Osbaston House is likely to take several days.
The Fosters went to a friend's barbecue on Monday before returning to their home, reportedly worth £1.2m, later that evening.
The fire started at about 5am on Tuesday, destroying a stable block, garage and badly damaging the house itself. Three horses were found dead.
West Mercia Constabulary refused to comment on reports that bullet cartridges and pools of blood were found in the courtyard.
The force also refused to confirm or deny newspaper reports which suggest police fear Mr Foster may have shot dead his family before boarding himself in the house and setting fire to it.
A police spokesman said: "There is a lot of speculation going on. When we are able to, we will issue facts. We are not able to go into the building so we do not know what, if anything, is inside."