A fire early Wednesday destroyed Crockett's Country Store in Harriet.
The only thing left in the Searcy County community is the post office, said Amanda Crockett, co-owner of the store.
She said an off-duty sheriff's deputy called about 1 a.m. Wednesday.
"He said, 'You know your store's on fire, right?'"
"I said, 'No, sir, we don't.'"
Amanda and her husband, Creed Crockett, live in a house behind the store with their two children.
She said a 100-pound propane bottle behind the store exploded, along with small bottles of propane that were in the store.
"My 8-year-old woke up and asked me if there was an earthquake," she said.
She took the children to a safe location and returned to find the fire still blazing at 3 a.m.
The "HaRoCo Fire Department" was there, but it took hours to extinguish the fire, Amanda Crockett said. The Fire Department's name is an abbreviation for the communities of Harriet, Rock Creek and Cozahome. The store was brick on the outside and framed with wood on the inside.
The Arkansas State Police investigated Thursday and said agents couldn't determine the cause of the fire, Amanda Crockett said. The agency told her the fire started in the middle of the building.
She said the store was built in the 1940s.
Creed and Amanda Crockett bought the store five years ago from Bobby Crockett, who is Creed's father.
Bobby Crockett was an All-American split end on the Arkansas Razorbacks' 1964 national championship football team. He bought the store in 1987, Amanda Crockett said.
Photographs from the Razorbacks' 1964 season were on the wall inside the store, along with a replica of Bobby Crockett's jersey.
The store sold groceries, prepared food and camping equipment, among other things.
The Crocketts also ran a canoe-rental business from the store for people heading to the Buffalo National River, which is 5 miles to the northwest.
The fire didn't damage the Crocketts' house or the canoes, which were outside.
Amanda Crockett said they had a verbal agreement to sell the store Nov. 1, but she and Creed were going to keep the canoe-rental business.
The fire changed all that.
"We are planning on rebuilding," she said.
Whether the couple will rebuild the store and canoe-rental business has yet to be determined. Amanda Crockett said they might rebuild the store as primarily an outdoor outfitter.
Amanda Crockett said the couple had insurance on the building.
With the demise of the store, a "big part of the community" is gone, Amanda Crockett said.
Metro on 10/20/2017
Print Headline: Harriet's '40s-built store falls to flames; Owners wake up to blaze; little left