Police say a fire inside a restaurant in Wenatchee early Sunday was likely caused by two intoxicated employees.

The blaze occurred in the kitchen area of The Thai on North Mission Street just before 1 a.m.

Wenatchee Police Department Capt. Edgar Reinfeld says officers had to rescue both men as the fire raged, including the need to physically carry one of them from the building.

"Officers arrived and immediately found one male just inside the building. Then, they discovered there was a second man in the structure and got them both out safely. Through an investigation it was learned that these two were cooking inside the restaurant after hours and that both were intoxicated while doing so."

Police say the restaurant's owners told officers the pair were not authorized to be inside the restaurant, which was closed at the time of the fire.

Reinfeld says the employee's actions caused the fire but its exact source is still under investigation and that charges against the men are unlikely, but possible.

"Most fire-related charges such as Reckless Burning or Arson - and in this case it would be considered a potential arson because it was an occupied building even though it was just the two of them inside the building - require an element of recklessness at the least, like someone saying 'this is a really bad idea but let's do it anyway', or the intent to actually cause a structure fire. And I'm not sure we're going to get to either one of those based on the evidence that we currently have on the fire, but if something else were to come to light, we would possibly file charges."

No one was injured in the fire but the restaurant has been rendered unable to operate as a result of the fire and will be closed indefinitely while necessary repairs are made.

KPQ News has reached out to the owners of The Thai but had yet to receive a response at the time of this posting.

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