Photo by Corey Rich##McMinnville firefighters responded Thursday morning to a fully-involved house fire at 632 N.E. Cowls St. The homeowners were out of town at the time.
Photo by Corey Rich##McMinnville firefighters responded Thursday morning to a fully-involved house fire at 632 N.E. Cowls St. The homeowners were out of town at the time.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Firefighters talk with neighbors in the aftermath of Thuesday morning’s fire at Scott and Mary Sue Macy’s
McMinnville home. Neighbors came to aid firefighters, spreading keepsakes and photos found in the house on
the lawn to dry.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Firefighters talk with neighbors in the aftermath of Thuesday morning’s fire at Scott and Mary Sue Macy’s McMinnville home. Neighbors came to aid firefighters, spreading keepsakes and photos found in the house on the lawn to dry.
Ossie Bladine/News-Register##Firefighters clean up a historic home near downtown McMinnville hours after a fire started.
Ossie Bladine/News-Register##Firefighters clean up a historic home near downtown McMinnville hours after a fire started.
By News-Register staff • 

Roswell Conner House damaged in blaze

UPDATED Friday, July 24:

Firefighters responded to the three-story, 4,216-square-foot Roswell Conner House, located at 632 N.E. Cowls St., just after daybreak. By then, smoke was already pouring from the roof, attic and top story, which suffered devastating damage.

As flames began to engulf the house and soar above the roof, the fire quickly went to two alarms. A third was sounded at 6:20 a.m., as firefighters continued to pour thousands of gallons of water on the the burning structure.

The four-bedroom residence is owned by Scott Macy, a longtime partner in Macy & Son Funeral Directors, and his wife, Mary Sue. Both have long played major roles in local civic and business circles, continuing as they began transitioning into retirement.

They were at the coast at the time, but rushed back after learning of the blaze. The bedrooms are located upstairs, so the fire could have put them in grave danger, had they been home.

The structure suffered significant fire, smoke and water damage. The Yamhill County Fire Investigation Team will seek to determine the cause, which was not immediately evident.

As fire crews began arriving on scene, they first set about ventilating the wooden structure, in part by breaking out windows, and searching for anyone who might be trapped inside. Then they began hitting it with water.

Neighbors congregated on streets surrounding the home, which had been blocked off by police, to watch firefighters battle the blaze.

A neighbor said she had smelled smoke Wednesday night, while walking in the area. She said she wishes she had called the fire department then.

After getting the blaze under control, firefighters established a brigade and began handing out potentially salvageable photos, keepsakes and personal effects. Friends and neighbors spread them out on the lawn across the street and began seeing what they could do to sort through them and dry them off.

Fire Chief Rich Leipfert said the early 1900s construction made the suppression effort much more difficult.

“Construction of this house was balloon-frame, and that was the challenge,” he said. “When houses were built in those days, no fire stops were put in, so this fire got into the walls and ran from the first floor to the attic and spread out.”

Crews maneuvered their way onto the second floor and remained there for about 20 minutes, Leipfert said. But they were ultimately driven back.

“Then the fire got above us, into the attic space, and started burning through the roof,” he said. “We had to pull people off the second floor because it wasn’t safe. At that point, we took a defensive stance, and used large hoses from the outside.”

About 30 firefighters responded from McMinnville, Lafayette, Newberg, Amity and Dayton with about a dozen pieces of equipment. And the help was welcome.

“We appreciate our neighboring partners,” Leipfert said. “They’re greatly appreciated.

A McMinnville Water & Light crew cut power to the house. McMinnville police handled traffic control.

In the movie “Quarterback Princess,” Helen Hunt played Tami Maida, whose family immigrated to Philomath  from their native Canada. After moving into the historic Cowls Street residence, she turned out for the high school football team and ended up quarterbacking the Grizzlies.

The house is listed under its formal Roswell Conner name on the McMinnville Planning Department’s official list of historic preservation sites.

Conner was a prominent McMinnville attorney at the turn of the century, when the house was built. He married Myrtie Apperson, a sister of E.C. Apperson, who lived across the street.

Conner hired architect C.C. Robbins to design the house. He had it built for $2,500.

It was not immediately clear whether the house could be saved, after suffering such extensive damage.

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Posted Thursday morning, July 23

McMinnville firefighters responded Thursday morning  to a fire at 632 N.E. Cowls Street. A large amount of smoke was coming from the older, three-story historic home when the first crew arrived. No flames were visible at the time.

The fire quickly went to two alarms. A third alarm was sounded at 6:20 a.m. Shortly afterward, crews reported the home was fully-involved. At that point, flames were shooting from the roof. Crews were pouring thousands of gallons of water on the fire.

Scott and Mary Sue Macy own the home. They were out of town at the time and the home was not occupied. They had been contacted and were returning to McMinnville.

The home was featured in the 1983 movie "Quarterback Princess," starring Helen Hunt as Tami Maida, whose family moved to Oregon from Canada. She turned out for the high school football team and played quarterback for the Grizzlies. Her family planned to rent the house when they arrived in town.

It suffered significant fire, smoke and water damage as a result of the fire. The Yamhill County Fire Investigation Team will attempt to determine a cause.

As crews started arriving, they began ventilating the wood structure, in part, by breaking out windows. They were also searching for anyone who might be in the home when the fire was reported.

Neighbors congregated on streets surounding the home to watch firefighters battle the blaze. They also helped sort through some of the Macy's personal belongings that firefighters removed from the house.

Multiple pieces of equipment and personnel reported to the scene. The McMinnville station was covered by units from other agencies.

A McMinnville Water and Light crew cut power to the house. McMinnville police handled traffic control.

 

 

Comments

Momohunt

Might have been a good idea to fact-check before publication. The Maida family did NOT move to Mac from Canada. They moved to Philomath and Tammy played JV quarterback for that team. McMinnville ( called Minnville in the movie) was substituted for Philomath in the 1983 CBS made- for television movie. The Grizzlie football team played in the movie as did the pep band. The team couldn't receive payment for their roles- or else they'd lose NCAA status but did get wight room equipment. Town people were used in crowd scenes at Wortman Stadium and were compensated- I think $50.

Momohunt

Seriously, it was ONLY in the made -for- television movie that Tammy Maida played for the Grizzlies and that her family lived in the Cowls Street house. They moved to Philomath,and she played JV quarterback for Philomath.

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