Neighbours Issues Statement On New Year’s Arson

Early Wednesday morning, just after midnight, as 2014 dawned in Seattle, a fire was set in a stairway at Neighbours - the famed Capitol Hill gay nightclub. Gasoline was used to spark the blaze, which, according to the Seattle Times, resulted in $7,000 worth of damage - the bulk of which came from water damage created by the club’s sprinkler system.

With 750 people ringing in the New Year inside the club at the time, things could have been much, much worse. According to a statement issued by Neighbours last night on Faceboook, “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 arson is still being investigated, with police working to determine a motive for the blaze. Obviously, there are questions about whether the fire was set as a hate crime, with Seattle Police spokesperson Renee Witt telling the times that if there’s any indication it was, “we’ll pass it on to our bias unit.”

Here’s the official statement from Neighbours issued yesterday evening:

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.

 
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