Arson is suspected to be the cause of a fire that put in danger over 750 people attending a New year’s Eve Bash at one of Seattle’s oldest gay clubs. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Bostick and Mike Casey, USAF, discovered a fire in a stairwell after seeing smoke starting to fill the club shortly after midnight.
Bostick said in an interview with KTVU that there was a gas can at the top of the stairs. It was as if someone had deliberately drizzled gas over the carpet on the stairs, and left the can at the top so that once the stairs were engulfed in flames, the potential explosion could not be stopped. The fire would block access to the can of gasoline.
“You know, in 30 seconds, if that fire did what the arsonist intended, there’s no telling how many people could have died,” Bostick said, visibly angered.
Bostick admits with a little embarrassment that his first reaction was to run for big cups of water to battle the flames. Instead, he ran for a fire extinguisher behind the bar, while Casey went to work battling the flames. The club’s bartender, Lucas Shipley, located the fire extinguisher and joined in to stop the spread of the flames.
While club employees called the Seattle Fire Department, the club’s fire sprinkler system went off and within two minutes, everyone had filed quickly out of the club. No one was injured.
“This was a planned attack on a large quantity of people in order to affect an entire community,” Bostick said. “To me, that’s terrorism.”
So far no arrests have been made. Police are looking through surveillance tapes from the club as well as nearby businesses to locate the would-be terrorist.
Video courtesy of Seattle’s KTVU: