Investigators suspect arson at popular Ballard coffee shop

KOMO Photo.

SEATTLE - Firefighters suspect arson after a popular coffee shop in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood burst into flames late Friday night and spread to nearby a Mexican restaurant.

Several fire trucks rushed to Caffè Fiorè on Northwest 85th Street just after 11:30 p.m., Seattle Fire said. Dozens of people lined the street to watch as crews battled the blaze.

Crews extinguished the fire in under an hour. The building suffered heavy interior and exterior damage.

Photos show several blown out windows, blackened bricks and rubble littered across the inside of the shop.

Deming Maclise, Caffè Fiorè store owner, said this is his first coffee shop. He opened it 14 years ago.

He said the fire was started Friday night after someone stacked the Adirondack chairs outside of his shop, set them against the wall and lit them on fire with piles of newspaper.

He said at least 15 people are now out of work due to the damage caused to his building and the Mexican eatery next door.

"A lot of lives are affected by such a senseless act," Maclise said.

Mari Malcolm, a regular at the shop, said she was surprised when she walked by Saturday morning and saw the damage.

"We came here to get coffee on our way down to Golden Gardens," Malcolm said.

She says the shop is community hub where people can gather and enjoy the day with friends and family.

"There aren't actually a lot of place around here [like this]," Malcolm said. "It's going to be felt for a long time."

Caffè Fiorè posted photos of the damage to their Facebook page early Saturday morning and thanked the community for their support.

"Things could have been a lot worse," the restaurant said. "Thank you to the community who has stopped by this morning and been so supportive. We have the best neighbors."

The investigation has been turned over to the Seattle Fire Department's Arson and Bomb squad. No injuries were reported.

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