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NEW DETAILS: Overton fire cause determined

POSTED: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 6:23pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:00am

Chief says heavy-duty extension cord underneath rug ignited the flames

OVERTON – Fire investigators confirm a heavy-duty extension cord tucked underneath a carpet rug sparked the fire that destroyed a strip of historic buildings in Overton Monday night.

A church, dry cleaner and the famed Peanut Butter Emporium all went up in flames.

Owners Carrie and Keith Parsons lived above their restaurant that housed soup, sandwiches and the Peanut Butter Museum. They say a vacant dry cleaners was attached to their home and used as an office building. That’s where investigators say the fire started.

In a matter of minutes, they say the building was destroyed – their dreams lost with it.

“We had just been in Rachel Ray Magazine for our peanut butter in September,” Mr. Parsons said while surveying the damage. “We were having our best year ever.”

Mrs. Parsons, a Christian radio morning show host, stood next to her husband without a jacket on, shivering from the cold. She said everything was loss in the fire.

The Parson family said prayer and faith is the only thing that’s kept them going the last two days.

The smell of charred remains still lingered in the air as investigators sifted through the rubble to find the cause.

Overton fire chief Bill Wall has lived in this community since 1941. He says it crushed him to watch a piece of Overton – quickly go up in flames.

“We used to hang out here,” he said, while pointing at the building. “They had a soda fountain…it was the bus stop even after World War II.

Once the Parsons took over six years ago, Chief Wall says he often stopped in to eat.

“They make good chicken sandwiches,” he said. “That’s what I’ll miss because I try to stay away from the sweets.”

He wasn’t the only one that loved the food. As our KETK crews stood outside the building, children told us they’ll miss the fudge.

Mrs. Parsons says she’ll miss the kids, the community members that walked through the Peanut Butter Emporium doors each day.

“This morning I thought about all the kids that come in all the time,” said Carrie. “We get a lot of students and they are a part of our lives.”

As the Parsons try to move forward, along with their teenage son and dog, they say God will walk them through it all.

“We’re still in shock,” said Mr. Parsons, a former mayor of Overton. “We just know there’s something in it bigger than us.”

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