Fire damages local house used in 1995 movie

Photo courtesy of Washington County Historical Society
This photo, taken by the Historical Society in the early 1990s shows “The Cure” house. The second story of the house had a fire early Wednesday morning.

A fire early Wednesday morning heavily damaged a Stillwater house featured in the 1995 film “The Cure.”

Deputy Fire Chief Tom Ballis said the homeowner reported the fire at 815 S. Second St. around 3:43 a.m. Wednesday. Fire crews arrived five minutes later to find the blaze concentrated on the second story and moving to the attic. There was a heavy fire on the backside of the house and fire crews went in around 4:08 a.m.

The homeowners escaped but four of their five cats died.

The Stillwater Fire Department began investigating the fire on Thursday, although the cause of the blaze is not suspicious.

“Though the police report said (the cause of the fire) may be the AC unit, the AC unit was not operating at the time. It was plugged in. They thought the flames were coming out of the AC but it’s the path of least resistance for a fire with the open window,” Ballis said. “The fire started in an office area so there are many components involved in that.”

The investigation involves digging through the burned portions of the house and working with insurance company investigators. Ballis said the fire department had met with the insurance investigators on Thursday morning and met with them again in the afternoon.

The historical society confirmed that this house was used in the movie “The Cure.” The movie, directed by Peter Horton, focuses on two children, Dexter played by Joseph Mazello who portrays a child with AIDS, and his friend Erik, played by Brad Renfro. Dexter is bullied mercilessly and Erik’s mother prohibits their friendship after she learns Dexter has AIDS. The children read about a doctor in New Orleans who claims to have found a cure for AIDS and decide to travel down the Mississippi river alone to find him.

“(This house) was the house that was used in the movie,” said Brent Peterson, the executive director of the historical society. “I know they took exterior shots, I’m not sure if any scenes were shot inside the house. But they did use Stillwater, the river, and the exterior of the house.”