Last week, CHS reported that a person of interest had been identified in the New Year’s arson at Neighbours. Monday, SPD released the images as detectives seek the public’s help in identifying the man. Police are not yet calling the man a “suspect” in the crime.
Detectives Seek Public’s Assistance on Neighbours Nightclub Arson Investigation
Written byDetective Mark Jamiesonon
Detectives in the Arson/Bomb Squad are asking the public for assistance in identifying the man depicted in the images below. Just after midnight on January 1st, 2014, a fire was set in the stairway at Neighbours Nightclub in the 1500 Block of Broadway. There were approximately 750 patrons and staff inside at the time.
Detectives are attempting to identify the person in the photos (taken from video surveillance cameras inside the club) so that he may be interviewed. Detectives are asking that anyone who recognizes this man contact the Arson/Bomb Squad. Further, anyone who was present at Neighbours on New Year’s Eve and may have had contact with this manare urged to contact detectives. Also, detectives are asking people who were present in Neighbours to review any photos or video they took on New Year’s Eve to see if they may have captured any images of this man, and if they did to please contact Seattle Police Arson/Bomb Squad detectives at (206) 684-8980.
According to a person familiar with the investigation who spoke with CHS on the condition of anonymity, surveillance video shows a man jumping a rail and entering the packed club via the smoking area just before midnight. Beneath his coat, he is believed to be carrying a canister of gasoline later found at the scene. The man can be seen proceeding to the mezzanine area where he orders a glass of water. He then goes down the stairs where the fire was set before returning to the mezzanine. The man does this one more time and then fire erupts just minutes after the midnight celebration of the new year.
Police say a small red gasoline can was found at the top of the stairs where the fire originally spread before being extinguished by a quick acting patron and employee.
The building’s fire sprinkler system was activated, soaking the club and forcing more than 700 revelers to flee. There were no serious injuries in the incident. Seattle Fire estimated damage at around $6,000. Neighbours was cleaned and back in business within days. We’re told club management will build a new wall and move the Neighbours entrance to Broadway to help restrict access.
UPDATE 1/17/2014 7:45 PM: Neighbours has posted the video the SPD’s images were taken from. They show the suspicious man moving through the club as revelers dance and ring in 2014.