Cafe Genevieve fire

Stephanie Schofield with the Rawlins Fire Department walks through the burned section of Cafe Genevieve with her dog, Sasha. Sasha is trained in accelerant detection, which helps determine if arson could have caused a fire.

Investigators have been unable to determine the cause of a July fire that caused extensive damage to Cafe Genevieve. But the case remains active because at least one witness won’t agree to an interview, police said.

A joint investigation has been underway for more than four months, which involved the Jackson Police Department, Jackson Hole Fire/EMS, the Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s office and the Division of Criminal Investigation.

“The collective investigative efforts have been unable to conclusively determine the cause of the fire,” Jackson Police Lt. Roger Schultz stated in a press release Friday morning. “The DCI Arson Investigations team and the state fire marshal have declared the cause undetermined at this point in the investigative process.”

That means investigators can’t determine if the fire was caused by a human or otherwise based on the physical evidence, Schultz said.

“Numerous witnesses have been interviewed that were relevant to the case in an effort to further determine the cause of the fire,” Schultz said. “There is, however, one key witness remaining to be interviewed.”

That witness has not made himself available to be interviewed, Schultz said, “despite multiple efforts to do so.” But the man is not a suspect and it’s his constitutional right to refuse to do an interview, Schultz said.

Because of the outstanding interview the case remains active and open.

The 109-year-old building that houses Cafe Genevieve in downtown Jackson caught fire around 3 a.m. on July 2.

Flames engulfed the back part of the restaurant in kitchen and storage areas. A witness saw the flames and called 911.

The restaurant has been closed since the fire and remains closed. Owner Fred Peightal told the Jackson Hole Daily on Friday that he hopes to reopen the restaurant by February. Work is currently underway on the restaurant’s interior and rear exterior.

If you have information related to the fire you’re asked to call Jackson Police Detective Rob Andazola at 733-1430.

Anonymous tips can be left with Jackson Hole Crimestoppers at 733-5148.

Contact Emily Mieure at 732-7066 or courts@jhnewsandguide.com.

(1) comment

David Weingart

My first thought was that this happened while Save The Block was going on. Who would benefit from the cabin no longer being there.

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