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Search continues for Fremont arson suspect

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SEATTLE -- It’s merry and bright in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood during the holidays.

“We’ve lived and worked in this neighborhood coming up on 15 years. This will always be home to me,” said Billy Beckett.

For buddies Padraic Markle and Billy Beckett, this neighborhood is where they’ve built their lives.

“Billy and I met working in Fremont working down the street at the Ballroom,” said Markle.

Now they own Red Star Taco Bar on north 36th street.

“We specialize in all kinds of tacos and quality tequila,” said Markle.

They opened five years ago and have been feeding Fremont ever since.

Surveillance images released by Seattle Police of a suspect in the Fremont-area arsons

“We’ve always been really grateful of the support his neighborhood and community has given us, including right now more than ever honestly,” said Markle.

Holiday lights line this street, but on Christmas Eve it was fire engine lights seen around the block while crews put out two fires determined to be arson that damaged Red Star Taco Bar and two other neighboring businesses.

“We lost our entire patio. We had a substantial storage area underneath the patio, we lost that. There is interior damage, there’s smoke damage.”

Markle says today he saw surveillance video of the suspected arsonist.

“It kind of made it more personal. He’s a younger guy, he doesn’t look like he’s crazy,” said Markle.

The doors are closed now at all three business affected- Red Star Taco Bar, Habitude and Ounce of Prevention. The Seattle Fire Department says there was about $200,000 total in damages to all business.

The Red Star Taco Bar was damaged during in a Christmas Eve fire later determined to be arson

At the earliest, “Spit balling maybe 1-2 weeks,” said Markle on when he thinks they may reopen.

And ask the business partners if this ruined the holidays and they’ll tell you it’s actually quite the opposite.

“As crazy as it might sound it might have brightening my Christmas to have the support from our community,” said Beckett.

“There was so much love and support that overwhelmed it by leaps,” said Markle.

“We’ll get there, and that star will shine again,” said Beckett.

The Seattle Fire Department is encouraging anyone with information about the suspect to contact the fire department. Tips can be anonymous.

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