About of liter of gasoline was poured over a staircase and lit on fire on New Year’s Eve at Neighbours Nightclub in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
“A minute more and you could’ve had a disaster,” Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea) President and Neighbours regular Shaun Kinttel said.
Kinttel was able to record a video when he and the club management discovered the gasoline, just a few minutes into the New Year.
“About 15 minutes after midnight we started smelling this gas everywhere,” Christopher D’Agostino said.
Though the fire ended the New Year’s Eve show, performed by drag queen Aleksa Manila, not one of the nearly 700 guests were injured. Everyone was able to evacuate into an alley, many leaving coats and bags inside to retrieve Wednesday.
Even with huge flames, the fire didn’t completely destroy the bar. Cameras are set up near the staircase and Knittel said “management will scour the video for a suspect.”
“Other than hate and ignorance, I want to know why,” Knittel said. “Why violence? If you have a message you want us to hear you, see you, do it in a way that’s more intelligent than that and don’t hurt other people.”
“Neighbours is one of the symbols of queer nightlife in Seattle,” she said. “To put that much effort and thought into doing something like that, as heinous as that, because somebody could’ve died.”Manila has been performing at Neighbours for 10 years, and was upset the act of intimidation would damage a bar with such a long history.