Arson charges possible in restaurant fire

LYNNWOOD — Investigators are recommending first-degree arson charges against the owners of a Mexican restaurant that caught fire in south Snohomish County last fall.

The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office alleges that the owners of Taqueria La Mexicana at 13915 Highway 99 torched the place as part of a scheme to get an insurance payout.

The couple, formerly of the Lynnwood area, has moved out of the region since the investigation began, officials said.

In the months since the Oct. 7 arson, the fire marshal’s team has been collecting evidence and obtaining and reviewing financial records, telephone records and insurance documents, investigator Mike Makela said.

Last week, the case was forwarded to county prosecutors for review. The case file filled an estimated 2,000 pages, Makela said.

After the fire, the couple filed an insurance claim estimating the damage to the restaurant at $120,000. They later withdrew the claim.

The restaurant remains closed, Makela said. The couple was leasing the building from the property owner.

The fire was deemed suspicious from the start. Investigators believe the blaze broke out when someone held an open flame to combustible items in two different areas of the building, Makela said.

Under state law, a person can be convicted of first-degree arson if they cause a fire or explosion on “property valued at $10,000 or more with intent to collect insurance proceeds,” among other circumstances.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com

More in Local News

Wildlife, guns and property taxes are on the agenda in 2018

State lawmakers are pre-filing bills they hope to pass in the 2018 legislative session.

Spring start set for big Everett apartment complex

The building will be eight stories tall, with seven of those visible from Broadway.

Amtrak service from Seattle north unaffected by DuPont wreck

Sound Transit reported no disruptions for its Sounder commuter trains serving Edmonds and Seattle.

Two from Oak Harbor killed in head-on, 2-car crash

One car crossed the center line, hitting the other car. Both drivers died.

Clues in recovered backpack help identify robbery suspect

Police find a ticket with the man’s name on it after an attempted shoplifting at a Safeway.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Police presence returns to Edmonds School District

Jacob Hubby is set to walk the halls of Meadowdale High School as a school resource officer.

County budget takes effect without Somers’ signature

The council passed its version with unanimous support and could have overridden an executive veto.

Separate Everett fires send man to hospital, damage boat

The man was hospitalized for smoke inhalation from the early morning fire.

Most Read