Mountlake Terrace Fire Ruled Arson -- Damage Could Reach $1 Million


Authorities have determined that a fire that caused between $750,000 and $1 million of damage to the East Plaza shopping center early yesterday morning was an arson.

The blaze, which broke out at about 1:35 a.m. yesterday, occurred in the 23100 block of 56th Avenue West. There were no injuries.

``We don't have any links to any serial arsons at this time,'' said Mountlake Terrace police Cmdr. Larry Ankrum. ``We have a number of leads we're working on. We're not zeroing in on any particular suspect at this point.''

Ankrum declined to give any details about the arson. ``We're not real anxious to talk specific evidence,'' he said.

Fire Chief Pat Vollandt said the fire raced through a one-story shopping center containing six businesses, which shared a common attic. The fire started in the rear of a plumbing business and destroyed that business and two others - a computer firm and an electrical contracting business. A fourth store - a ceramics shop - was partly destroyed, but a tavern and dry-cleaning business escaped major damage, he said.

Twelve fire trucks and 40 to 50 firefighters from Mountlake Terrace, Bothell, Shoreline, Lynnwood, Edmonds and Snohomish County Fire District 1 responded to the fire, Vollandt said.

Ankrum said the arson task force investigating the fire includes officials from the city's police and fire departments and an official with the state fire marshal's office. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire Arms is also being consulted on the case, he said.

People with information on the arson are encouraged to call Mountlake Terrace police Sgt. Stephen Foster at 776-1161.