A Vancouver man accused of setting fire to the roof of Shanahan’s Pub & Grill on Jan. 9 apparently held a grudge against the business because he was fired in 2017, according to police.
Eugene Fletcher Scott, 44, formerly worked as a janitor at Shanahan’s but was let go for drug-related activity, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Scott appeared Friday via Zoom in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree arson.
Judge Gregory Gonzales granted the prosecution’s request for Scott’s bail to be set at $100,000, citing a danger to the community.
There were employees and at least two customers inside the business and another approximately 30 customers outside on the patio when the fire was set, court records say.
If he posts bail, Scott will be on intensive supervision and is not to have contact with Shanahan’s.
Vancouver Fire Department crews were dispatched at 2:06 p.m. to 209 W. McLoughlin Blvd., for a report of a commercial structure fire.
The first engine arrived at Shanahan’s within three minutes, department spokesman and firefighter Joe Hudson said Monday. By then, everyone inside the building had evacuated, he said. No one was injured.
There was no fire visible from the ground, but the original 911 caller told dispatchers it was on the building’s roof, Hudson said. Firefighters climbed onto the roof and found smoldering materials on the south end. They used a fire extinguisher on the materials; no water was needed as the flames had mostly died out, he said.
Deputy fire marshals and investigators from the Vancouver Police Department’s Arson Unit responded and began looking into the cause. They confirmed that the fire was intentionally set, police said.
The fire caused about $50,000 worth of damage, court records state.
Witnesses and surveillance cameras from two nearby businesses captured a man approaching the area from the south with a ladder over his shoulder and a 5-gallon bucket in his other hand. Investigators located the ladder propped against a business to the south of Shanahan’s and found shoe prints on an awning next to the top of it, according to the affidavit.
Investigators determined the suspect set the bucket on the roof and lit its contents on fire with ignitable liquid, the affidavit says.
Employees inside the business said they heard running on the roof and later saw a man matching the suspect’s description running away south. The suspect was later identified as Scott, though court records don’t elaborate on how that determination was made. (Shanahan’s had shared photos from surveillance footage of the suspect online.)
Investigators served a search warrant at Scott’s residence Thursday. They found clothing matching what the suspect wore, and his shoe pattern matched the shoe prints found at the scene, court records state.
Scott initially told investigators he was in Portland on the day of the fire, but his parents contradicted that and said he left home around noon. They also told investigators that Scott holds a grudge against Shanahan’s and often talked about it, according to the affidavit. He later admitted to setting the fire in a recorded interview, the court records said.
He will be arraigned Jan. 22.