The investigation into what caused Cafe Genevieve to partially burn is still underway but could wrap up soon, according to Wyoming State Fire Marshal Michael Reed.
“We are still in the information gathering phase of this case and will be for a few more days,” Reed said. “Then we will be waiting on the test results from the lab and making a final determination.”
Evidence collected at the scene is being sent to a lab out of state because the Wyoming State Crime lab doesn’t have the capability to do the tests.
“We will use their expertise to look for presence of accelerants and chemicals,” Reed said.
The Division of Criminal Investigation, the Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Jackson Police Department and Jackson Hole Fire/EMS are working together to determine the cause, Reed said.
New surveillance video is being collected and reviewed.
“We are working with other agencies to determine whether any video evidence may be available to help in the cause determination,” Reed said. “We are taking a team approach to the case and utilizing the expertise of many people in our region.”
Police and firefighters responded to a structure fire at the historic cabin around 3 a.m. July 2.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames, but significant damage was done to the back of the restaurant and an outdoor shed.
Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Chief Brady Hansen requested the assistance of the Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s Office, which included the help of arson dog Sasha. Sasha gave an indication on some charred kitchen rags behind Cafe Genevieve, said her handler, Capt. Stephanie Schofield.
But the dog could have just sniffed cleaning chemicals, Schofield said, so the evidence needs to be tested.
Based on the damage, officials believe the fire started outside the back of the building.
No official has called the fire suspicious, but they’re in the process of ruling out arson.
“It’s premature for me to comment on that,” Reed said.
The popular restaurant is closed indefinitely.
When the fire happened, the Jackson Hole Land Trust was in the midst of a community fundraising campaign to preserve the cabin and other historic buildings and open space on the downtown Broadway block.
Police are asking anyone with information related to the fire to call Detective Rob Andazola of the Jackson Police Department at 733-1430. Anonymous tips can also be left at Jackson Hole Crime Stoppers at 733-5148.