Fire Claims Three Lives
Three children were burned to death in a Grand Ronde house fire Monday morning. The fire, which may have been started when an oil stove exploded, turned the wood-frame house into a torch before the sleeping children could be rescued from their bedroom in the rear of the house. Three children of Mr and Mrs Ralph Wellman – Kimberley, 5 ½, Mark, 3 and Ralph, 4 months, perished in the blaze. Wellman, 28, was able to save three of his six children from the flames: Travis, 4, Wayne, 7 and Bryan, 18 months. A grandfather, Harold Fisher, resides in Dallas. Before the fire could be brought under control, flames spread to two neighboring houses, destroying them for all practical purposes. All three of the houses were owned by Floyd Bunn. The Wellman house was #28 and was located two blocks north of the coast highway. The adjoining houses were occupied by the Sam Everett and David Holmes families. Bunn stated that an explosion occurred shortly before 10 am and that before anyone could reach the house, the entire structure was aflame. Wellman and his wife Roberta, were in the house’s front bedroom at the time. Bryan, the youngest saved, was taken to McMinnville hospital with minor burns and Mrs Wellman was treated for shock. Trucks from Willamina, Sheridan and McMinnville were on the scene and state forestry, US Plywood and John Compton trucks came to help fight the fire. Bunn estimated the damage at $10,000 dollars. The structures were not insured. The Wellmans had been in grand Ronde for six months and the husband was presently unemployed. The fire was out within an hour and shortly thereafter the bodies of the three children wsere found in their beds.
Itemizer Observer, Thursday, August 17, 1967, 1:6-8
Kimberly, Mark and Ralph Wellman
Funeral services for the three Wellman children will be held Thurs, Aug 17 at 2 pm in the Bollman Funeral Home with Rev Allan Wiebe officiating. Kimberly Marlene, 6, Mark Wade, 3, and Ralph Oliver Jr, four months, died Monday in a fire at their Grand Ronde home. Kimberley was born mar 21, 1961 at Dallas; Mark, Nov 18, 1963 at Dallas; and Ralph, April 13 of this year. Survivors besides their parents, Mr and Mrs Ralph Oliver Wellman of Grand Ronde include three brothers, William Wayne, Merle Travis and Brian Jacob Wellman; and grandparents, Mrs Irene L. berlin, Salem, and Mr and Mrs Harold T. Fisher, Dallas. Interment will be in Womer cemetery at Pedee.
Itemizer Observer, Thursday, August 17, 1967, 3:6