Fatal Elizabethton fire may have started near stove

John Thompson • Oct 29, 2013 at 12:09 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The death of a Carter County woman Sunday morning is being investigated by state fire marshal’s office investigator Don Cogan. It appears the fire in her home started around a stove.

Tracy Parsons, 52, was killed in the fire at her home at 1427 Riverview Drive.

The fire was reported at 8:47 a.m. There was a report that someone was trapped inside the home.

Chief Johnny Isaacs of the Hampton-Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department was among the first to respond and immediately made entry and began a search of the home. Parsons was found inside, unresponsive. Isaacs, along with firefighters Scottie Wilson and Amos Halava, pulled Parsons to the front steps of the home, where paramedics from the Carter County Rescue Squad assessed her condition.

Coroner Benny Colbaugh and a fire chaplain pronounced Parsons dead at the scene.

Four passers-by and members of the nearby Valley Forge Freewill Baptist Church rescued two survivors from the fire. The rescuers were Jeff Underwood, Clark Verran, Jay Kyte and Bobby James.

The Elizabethton Star reported that Parsons’ husband, Bill Parsons, was undergoing medical procedures away from home at the time of the fire. Parsons is advertising director at the newspaper.

Deputy David Caldwell of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department spoke with one of the survivors, Esther Locke, who said her mother had been boiling artichokes the night before and likely left the kitchen stove on overnight. She said she woke up to the smell of smoke and attempted to exit the home through a window, when Underwood arrived and broke the window, allowing her and 4-year-old Aiden Locke to escape.

The Stoney Creek and Watauga volunteer fire departments also responded.

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