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

These little piggies stay home

Norman, who was spotted last week in Everett, is part of a trio kept as pets by the “pig whisperer.”

Sailors await to disembark the U.S.S. Kidd on Sunday morning at Naval Station Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

Street-legal ATVs approved for some roads near Sultan

Supporters foresee tourism benefits. Opponents are concerned about injury and pollution risks.

Jamie Copeland is a senior at Cedar Park Christian Schools’ Mountlake Terrace campus. She is a basketball player, ASB president, cheerleader and, of course, a Lion. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Cedar Park Christian senior stepping up to new challenges

Jamie Copeland’s academics include STEM studies, leadership, ASB activities, honor society.

Woman, 47, found dead in Marysville jail cell

She’d been in custody about four days after being arrested on warrants, police said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

Herald photos of the week

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

Mukilteo Police Chief Cheol Kang is known for his people skills

The city’s top cop’s calm demeanor and holistic approach earns him the nickname “Yoda.”

Most Read