Photo by Elaine Thompson/AP
I might have fantasies of watching them burn, but not for noble eco-reasons. Just because McMansions offend my Decorno sensibilities.
'Street of Dreams' houses torched
By DEBERA CARLTON HARRELL, AUBREY COHEN AND PAUL SHUKOVSKY
ECHO LAKE -- As arson investigators sift through the charred remains of multimillion-dollar "dream" homes in a wooded subdivision near here, some builders are wondering if their luxury homes could be the next target of eco-terrorists.
"I'm really concerned about building, when I see this," said a Snohomish County developer, who didn't want his name used for fear of drawing attention to his project.
"I don't want anyone from ELF to see it," he said, referring to the Earth Liberation Front, an amorphous collection of radical environmentalists, which claimed responsibility for Monday's blaze on a scornful sign found nearby.
Striking before dawn, the arsonists tried to burn down all five homes showcased in last year's "Street of Dreams," but succeeded in destroying only three, federal authorities said. The homes were unoccupied and no injuries were reported, but damage was estimated at $7 million.
The FBI said the fires are being investigated as potential acts of domestic terrorism. Agents from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and regional Joint Terrorism Task Force were assisting local authorities.
While the spectacular blaze raged, the only apparent clue was a white bedsheet found on the property's edge. On it was a message, sloppily spray-painted in red letters: "Built Green? Nope BLACK!"
For wary developers it was an alarming flashback. Several other upscale developments in Snohomish County and Camano Island have been torched in recent years with ELF claming responsibility.
"We've seen this grow over the years and it's very scary," said Brian Minnich, director of legislative affairs for the Building Industry Association of Washington, which is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonists.
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