Cigarette suspected in fast-food restaurant fire

WASHINGTON, Mo. (AP) — Investigators have zeroed in on a discarded cigarette as the possible source of a fire that gutted a fast-food restaurant in eastern Missouri.

But police and Franklin County arson investigators told the Washington Missouri (http://bit.ly/uMR0pN) on Tuesday they're still looking into the blaze that destroyed a Hardee's in Washington last week.

Fire Chief Bill Halmich says investigators found the cigarette in a pile of leaves near a wooden walkway behind the restaurant. No customers were inside when the fire broke out Friday afternoon, and employees were evacuated safely. Firefighters were on the scene for about eight hours.

A Hardee's district manager says the company will consult with its insurance agent before deciding whether to rebuild at the site. A dozen people worked at the restaurant.

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