ARLINGTON, Wash. - Arlington police have arrested a 53-year-old woman in connection to a downtown fire that destroyed a business and damaged others earlier this week.
A city of Arlington spokesperson said Teresa Casados was arrested when she came for her second interview with police Thursday afternoon.
On Monday night, crews responded to a report of a fire at a commercial building in the 200 block of North Olympic Avenue.
The fire ripped through the building and destroyed the store 2 Bits and More, where the flames started. A smoke shop and restaurant were saved. The Fire Marshal ruled the cause of the fire to be intentional.
There were no injuries in the fire.
According to police, officers and the fire department discovered a small space at the rear end of the building was being used as a residence.
Dawn Ambler, who owns the 2 Bits & More business in that building, told KIRO 7 she rented that space to the man as a shop and storage space, not as a residence.
But Kristin Banfield, a spokesperson for the city of Arlington, said there was a bed, a couch, and other signs that the man lived there.
Detectives interviewed the tenant of the space the day after the fire and learned that he and the suspect, who was his estranged wife, had an argument earlier in the evening.
According to police, the suspect called her estranged husband 15 minutes after the argument and threatened to burn down his residence.
Arlington detectives obtained evidence that confirmed the suspect returned to the residence after 7 p.m. and left five minutes later. The fire happened shortly after.
Steve VanMatre, a co-owner of the restaurant next door, offered police the surveillance video that showed the woman in the alley.
“You can see, here’s a car. Here’s the car leaving, here’s the smoke starting. We knew that was the key right there,” VanMatre said.
Casados was booked into the Snohomish County Jail on one count of arson in the first degree, with a domestic violence enhancement.
VanMatre and his partner, Martin, were eating inside the restaurant Monday night when they heard pounding on the door and neighbors running out of their units.
The historic buildings are so close together that Banfield said the damage could have been much worse. While people are not supposed to be living on the ground floor of the 2 Bits & More building, there are apartment units on upper floors of neighboring buildings.
Those residents were able to return to their homes, but VanMatre said Bistro San Martin will take longer to re-open. They have already had to cancel dinner reservations through Saturday.
“I’m angry. And I’m sad for the businesses next door. You know, we’ve been here 12 years. We’re neighbors. We’re friends,” VanMatre said.
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