Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

NORTH POWDER — Nick and Hilary Cox had just gone to bed Monday night after a traditional viewing of their favorite 1970 holiday film “Scrooge,” starring Albert Finney, when they heard the sound of a fire burning hot in their woodstove.

Nick put some water on the fire to cool it down and the couple went back to bed, thinking all was well, Hilary said.

When they heard the sound of the fire continuing to burn hot, they checked it again and found that the ceiling by the chimney was glowing, Hilary said Tuesday afternoon in a telephone interview from the site of what had been her dream home four miles west of North Powder on Ellis Road.

It was a little before midnight when the couple dialed 9-1-1 in the hope of stopping what appeared to be a flue fire. About 30 volunteers came to work throughout the night. Firefighters from North Powder, La Grande Rural, Haines, Baker Rural and Imbler responded.

It took firefighters about two hours to contain the blaze, and the firefighters were at the fire for about five hours said La Grande Fire Chief Larry Wooldridge.

North Powder Fire Department did not return phone calls for comment.

He said the fire was difficult to fight because of the size of the house and its location, which was far from any hydrants. All water had to be brought in by tender trucks.

“(The home) was a complete loss,” he said.

But it wasn’t for a lack of trying to save.

“There were lots of good people trying to help,” Hilary said.

There was time for the Cox family to get their four children, two German shorthair dogs, Libby and Max, and a new kitten, Mimi, out safely before the fire really started to burn, she said.

— Observer reporter Dick Mason contributed to this story.

See complete story in Wednesday's Observer