Neighbors Nightclub arsonist sentenced to 10 years

Musab Mohammed Masmari, the former Bellevue resident convicted of setting fire to Neighbours nightclub in Seattle on New Year's Eve, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday.

Masmari, 30, pleaded guilty to charges of arson in U.S. District Court in May.

According to the facts admitted under the plea agreement, on Dec. 31, 2013 Masmari brought a gallon tank of gasoline — concealed in a shopping bag — into the Capitol Hill club. He poured half the gasoline onto a stairway shortly after midnight and concealed the tank behind a planter at the top of the stairs, igniting the stairway before leaving the premises.

Masmari was later identified from surveillance videos and arrested by Seattle police and FBI Feb. 1.

"But for the actions of some very quick thinking folks, we could have a very serious tragedy," Judge Ricardo Martinez said during sentencing.

Martinez said the case deserved an exceptional sentence due to the number of people in the club celebrating the holiday — and because the fire "was a few seconds from causing significant injury or death."


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