Topless Coffee House Fire Was Arson

Tod Hunter
VASSALBORO, Maine —The fire that destroyed the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop early Wednesday morning was intentionally set, according to investigators with the State Fire Marshal's Office.

"It's incendiary; it is arson," said investigator Timothy York. "We've collected evidence that leads us to believe that, but what the evidence is, and why we believe that, is part of the investigation, and we're not going to release that at this time."

Earlier that night, Grand View Topless Coffee Shop owner Donald Crabtree had met with members of the Vassalboro Planning Board for a pre-application meeting to extend the hours of the shop to 1 a.m. and add music and dancing to the topless coffee service.

"I'm not asking to change it — just to add, keep it still a coffee shop," Crabtree said. "No alcohol involved at all."

The fire also damaged the former motel surrounding the coffee shop where owner Donald Crabtree and six of his family members and acquaintances — four other adults and two four-month-old babies — lived. No one was injured in the fire.