Suspect in arson that destroyed longtime Edmonds market in custody

EDMONDS, Wash. — A man who police say destroyed a longtime Edmonds business just days before Christmas is in custody.

“I felt pretty devastated and sorry for my dad,” said Jay Kwon, whose dad owns Firdale Market. “We’re just kind of lost for words.”

South County Fire said investigators have ruled the two-alarm fire arson, that was reported at the Firdale Market around 4:40 a.m. on December 23.

The convenience store’s owner was not inside at the time but investigators said two people escaped neighboring businesses without being hurt. The fire was under control in about 30 minutes and contained to the destroyed market.

Edmonds police told KIRO 7 Monday that detectives had identified the suspected arsonist but were still looking for that person and had not made any arrests yet or publicly identified them.

On Tuesday, Edmonds police released a photo and identified the suspect as 62-year-old James P. Doggett. Hours later, Edmonds police said Doggett was in the Skagit County Jail awaiting a court appearance on another charge.

“He’s wondering why? That’s the biggest thing,” said Kwon. “Our family is trying to figure out what was the reason.”

Kwon said his father had moved their family to the U.S. from Korea to pursue the American dream and had owned the market for the last 16 years.

“It’s a store I grew up in,” said Kwon. “This is where I got sick and tired of candy.”

Kwon’s wife, Lyann Trang, turned to the community to help the family business that had already been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The family said insurance isn’t expected to fully cover all that was lost.

“People were the ones, like you guys, you really need to start something. So that really sparked a seed in us,” said Trang. “I couldn’t believe it at first because every single Saturday, my husband sacrifices his time to really help out at the store.”

Kwon said he’s not sure what the future will hold as far as rebuilding and reopening the market.

“It sucks honestly,” said Kwon. “But at the same time, we’re thankful that no one got hurt.”