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

Inclusion super important to Monroe High senior

Sarah Reeves worked to make homecoming more representative of the student population.

Man, 60, in critical condition after Bothell crash

Police believe the driver may have been speeding when he hit a rock wall.

FBI operation arrests 3 linked to exploitation of 32 women

The sting focused on Everett and other cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce, Skagit and Spokane counties.

Man arrested in Monroe Walmart robbery; second suspect flees

The pair fled in a stolen Mitsubishi Lancer with a distinctive green spray paint job.

Fugitive convict, missing more than a year, surrenders

Charles Coggins, 60, turned himself in Monday. He could now spend up to 30 days behind bars.

Former homeless camp needs needles and garbage cleaned up

The Hand Up Project will lead a volunteer effort this weekend on wooded land south of Everett.

County Council postpones vote on conservation programs

A decision on funding agricultural and water-quality programs will come after the budget process.

A Q&A with the candidates running for Snohomish County Council

Republican incumbent Sam Low faces Democratic challenger Kristin Kelly in District 5.

Gang member sentenced as an adult for first-degree assault

Seth Friendly was 16 when he shot at a 17-year-old girl who was dating a rival gang member.

Most Read