The Seattle Police and Fire Departments continue to investigate the arson that occurred at Neighbours Nightclub just after Midnight on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2014. An unknown assailant apparently used gasoline to light a fire on stairs leading to the upper level mezzanine area of the club. Two customers and a club employee fought the blaze with a fire extinguisher and set off the fire alarm. The club was quickly evacuated and there were no apparent injuries. Neighbours released a statement praising the quick actions of the three men:
Last night, at approximately fifteen minutes after ringing in the new year, someone or a group of people committed arson by dousing the steps nearest the Broadway Street entrance of Neighbours with gasoline and setting them on fire. The assailant(s) left behind a plastic 1 liter gas container at the top of the stairs. What could have been a catastrophic loss of property and lives was diverted by the quick thinking and professional actions of the Neighbours staff. We are happy to report that the fire did not harm, or even injure anyone, because friends and U.S. service members Christopher Bostick and Mike Casey and Neighbours Seattle bartender Lucas Shipley located and grabbed a fire extinguisher and put the fire out in under 30 seconds. The bar staff pulled the fire alarm immediately after they saw smoke, ensuring the sprinkler system was activated and letting everyone know that they had to vacate the premises. Within two minutes, everyone had exited the building and nobody was hurt. Fire rescue and SPD officials arrived on scene and due to an ongoing investigation into what happened, we cannot, at this time, offer any further comment on the matter except that we are thankful for the fact that no one was hurt, honored that so many of you have reached out with words of support since the incident, and happy for your continued patronage. More information will be made available when we are able to put out the information without the possibility of jeopardizing the investigation.
Neighbours was closed Wednesday, January 1, 2014 but appears to be on track to reopen Thursday evening, January 2nd by 9pm at least according to the invite for Rock Lobster, the weekly 80s themed dance party produced/dj’d by Trent Von.
There’s also been a considerable amount of speculation via social media about whether this event was a hate crime, a stunt, or a vengeful employee/former employee of the club. The employee rumor seems to be based on the idea that only an employee could smuggle in the gasoline, but it should be pointed out that a one liter container isn’t very large; it is easily concealable under a baggy coat or in cargo pants. The club does apparently contain security cameras in the area of the fire. No information has been released if camera footage captured the incident.