Pegram community loses landmark grocery store in fire - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Pegram community loses landmark grocery store in fire

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PEGRAM, TN (WSMV) -

A pleasant Saturday afternoon at a Pegram shopping center turned into an ugly scene as the popular Pegram Valu-Plus Supermarket burned to the ground.

"It was kind of peaceful and quiet and today, like a summer afternoon," said Pegram Mayor Charles Morehead about the scene before the fire.

"It still hasn't even really sunk in yet what has happened," said Rupal Patel, whose family owns the store.

The fire started around 2:45 p.m. Saturday at the store on Highway 70. At least two other adjacent buildings were also affected.

Firefighters stopped the fire from spreading into a printing company next door, but the company suffered smoke damage. A vacant office to the left of the grocery store was damaged by fire and smoke. The Jennette Realtors office suffered some damage as well.

"I would say that all of them are affected at least by the smoke," said Morehead. "The grocery store is a total loss."

Patel's father, who was in the store when the fire started, believes it started in the back of the store. Fire Chief Brent Stuart says the initial call from the owner indicated the fire was in the bathroom.

"We have cameras in the back," said Patel. "That's where he saw the smoke coming from. So he got them out. He got out himself and he called the fire department, and he called me. So I rushed back here."

The grocery store has been in existence for about 60 years, one property owner said. The Patels have owned it since 2008.

"It's always been run by family," Patel said. "It's always been people that are family-based."

The town has not only lost a piece of its history, losing this building may also be a financial loss.

"We live off the tax dollars that we receive from businesses," said Morehead. "The Town of Pegram doesn't have a city property tax. By these businesses being damaged and shut down, we don't have any tax dollars coming in from these businesses."

The fire department will work through the weekend to determine the cause. There were no injuries reported.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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