SEATTLE (AP) — The quick thinking of a U.S. Army staff sergeant likely helped prevent a fire inside a Seattle night club from becoming a tragedy during New Year's Eve celebrations.
Seattle police say 750 people were celebrating in the club Neighbours when an arsonist poured gasoline on a carpeted stairway and set it ablaze.
In the first seconds after the fire started, Staff Sgt. Christopher Bostick grabbed a fire extinguisher from behind the bar. Then he and Air Force member Mike Casey put out the fire.
"I'm embarrassed to say, my first move was to go after it with cups of water. Then I quickly realized, this fire is way bigger than that," Bostick said.
Bostick, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, expects the fire would have become unmanageable in less than a minute.
While the nightclub's sprinkler system rained water down, hundreds of people calmly but quickly left the nightclub. No one was hurt.
Seattle arson investigators are searching through surveillance video from the club and neighboring businesses, looking for suspects and clues.
"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.