Naples detectives are investigating claims by a 35-year-old restaurant cook who said a fellow employee intentionally set him on fire.
A cook at the downtown Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, 1201 Third St. S., told police he wants to pursue charges against the co-worker after he suffered first- and second-degree burns Monday.
Restaurant manager Jason Weathers said he could not comment because he has been away from the restaurant the past few days.
“Our primary concern is obviously for everyone’s health and wellbeing and for a safe and healthy work place,” said Rob Goldberg, senior vice president of restaurants at Tommy Bahama’s Seattle headquarters.
An employee lit something on fire and threw it down the cook’s pants, police said. The cook’s left pant leg caught on fire and he suffered burns on his calf. He was treated at NCH Naples Downtown Hospital.
The cook said the same employee once stuck him in the arm with something small and sharp. He said he’s not sure why his co-worker hurt him. The man has worked there for several years, the cook said.
The cook also said two other co-workers witnessed the incident and watched, laughing, police reported.
Reports said the employee who started the cook on fire is a 35-year-old man.
Marie Reese, a Naples police spokeswoman, said police are still interviewing witnesses and reviewing the victim’s medical records. While no arrests have been made, Reese said the charge for anyone accused of the crime would likely be battery.
Goldberg said Tommy Bahama’s human resources staff is interviewing employees and cooperating with police in the investigation. Once they’ve gotten to the bottom of what happened, disciplinary action could be taken.
“When somebody’s injured we try to get to the bottom of it,” he said. “Especially when the situation isn’t clear, we step in.”
“We wish (the cook) a speedy recovery,” he added.
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