a parking lot with several cars parked in it
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office vehicles parked outside Pilot House Restaurant & Marina in Key Largo on the morning of March 6. An investigation ensued into an early-morning attempted arson. KELLIE BUTLER FARRELL/Keys Weekly

Investigators with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office descended upon the Pilot House Restaurant & Marina in the early morning of March 6 to find a shattered glass door. Inside, they found a carpet behind the door that was doused in gasoline. 

Smells of propane also filled the air, which drew response from the Key Largo Fire Department. 

Sheriff Rick Ramsay said investigators are working to figure out who damaged and tried to set fire to the restaurant, located at 13 Seagate Blvd. in Key Largo early Wednesday morning. Ramsay said it’s believed to be a disgruntled ex-employee. A criminal investigation is ongoing.

Pilot House Restaurant & Marina was closed on Wednesday, March 6 due to an ongoing investigation of an arson. KELLIE BUTLER FARRELL/Keys Weekly

A neighbor next to the restaurant reported hearing a loud banging around 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday. A report to the sheriff’s office at 7:40 a.m. brought investigators to the scene; yellow tape sectioned off the restaurant as they sifted for evidence.

State and county fire marshals were also called to the scene. 

Pilot House Restaurant & Marina was closed for the day due to the incident.

Jim McCarthy
Jim McCarthy is one of the many who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures in Western New York. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 5-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club. When he's not working, he's busy chasing his son, Lucas, around the house and enjoying time with family.