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AUGUST 11, 1997

Local News

arson A groundskeeper at Woodinville Plaza cleans up the sidewalk near Louie's Cafe after an arson there last week.

Andrew Walgamott/staff photo

Cafe fire determined to be arson

  by Andrew Walgamott
   Investigators are following up on signs of arson found at the scene of an overnight fire August 4 in a cafe at the Woodinville Plaza Shopping Center. According to Steve Smith, Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District chief, five fires were set in three locations inside Louie's Cafe near Albertsons at 17308 140th Ave. N.E.
   WFLSD crews responded to reports of smoke at the cafe around 10:50 Monday night. A sprinkler system activated and held flames in check until WFLSD crews extinguished the fire. On arrival, crews also found the front door to the cafe open, according to Smith.
   A sprinkler system is credited with saving the entire building from an inferno.
   "There is little doubt that had this been an unsprinklered building substantial fire and smoke damage would have taken place in adjoining businesses involving a much larger portion of the shopping center," Smith said.
   Using on-site combustibles, three fires were set in the restaurant office, one in the kitchen and another in the bathroom, according to Smith. He said it didn't appear that flammable liquids had been used. Damage from fire, smoke and water is estimated at $25,000.
   A neighboring pet shop suffered smoke and water damage, and an adjoining vacant unit had some water on the floor as well, Smith added.
   City and King County officials are investigating the fire. Anyone with information on the arson is asked WFLSD at 483-2131. Anonymous tips can be called in to 1-800-55-ARSON. Tips leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this fire will be eligible for a $15,000 reward.
   "The more leads we can get and the more potential witnesses we have, the better off we are," Smith said. He said Woodinville typically has a dozen arsons a year, most confined to dumpsters.
   "We think this is an isolated incident. We don't think we'll have a streak of arsons," Smith said.
   More than 30 firemen responded to the fire, including six engines and two ladder trucks. Units from Kirkland, Bothell and Snohomish County Fire District 7 responded when the on-scene command officer asked for backup.