Forensic evidence led detectives to conclude that the $2 million fire at Emory’s on Silver Lake was intentionally set, Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said.
Because the investigation is still unfolding, Goetz declined to share details about what evidence has been found, or why it took nearly two months to verify restaurant owner Emory Cole’s initial suspicion.
“This isn’t ‘CSI,’ ” Goetz said. “These things don’t happen overnight. Every case is different.”
Police do not have a suspect in the ongoing investigation, Goetz said.
Cole, the former mayor of Mukilteo, said Thursday he hadn’t heard from police about the arson finding. He has spent the past two months working with insurance adjusters and helping the restaurant’s employees find work.
“We’ve been under a lot of stress, to say the least,” Cole said.
Cole opened his dream restaurant in 1994 on the site of the former Silver Beach Resort, a privately run park dating to the 1930s.
The restaurant served dishes inspired by Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. It became popular with locals, who would pass summer evenings drinking stiff martinis on its lakeside deck.
On Nov. 9, crews rushed to respond to a 4:20 a.m. report of flames. By the time they arrived, the restaurant was engulfed in fire.
“The whole circumstances from the beginning were awfully strange to me,” Cole said.
Damage was concentrated around a lounge area and the deck, away from the kitchen, he said, and building inspectors had given a recent thumbs-up to the restaurant.
After the blaze, the restaurant staff found their reservation book, soggy from the gallons of water pumped into the building to extinguish the fire. They went about the sad task of cancelling holiday parties.
The fire left nearly 50 workers out jobs. Cole called other restaurants to try and place his staff. About half have found employment, he said.
“It hasn’t been a particularly great job environment, so it came at a particularly unfortunate time,” Cole said.
He plans to rebuild.
Next week, a demolition crew may tear down the restaurant’s charred ruins, which vandals already have picked over for scrap copper, Cole said.
After that, Cole may start designing a new building. Work could begin in nine months to a year.
“That’s if everything goes smoothly,” Cole said.
Andy Rathbun: 425-339-3455, email@example.com.
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