The man suspected of setting fire to a Capitol Hill nightclub on New Year’s Eve was charged today with first-degree arson.
Musab Musmari, 30, is being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. He is to be arraigned Feb. 19 at the King County Courthouse.
Musmari had $342 in cash, U.S. and Libyan passports, and a one-way plane ticket to Turkey when Seattle police arrested him Saturday afternoon just as he was leaving a house in Bellevue, presumably on his way to the airport, police said.
Musmari was identified as a suspect in the Neighbours nightclub arson after several people called in tips to police, who had released grainy surveillance photos to the media in January, according to the probable-cause statement outlining the police case against him.
Police said someone poured gasoline and set fire to it on a carpeted stairway inside the gay dance club. The fire was quickly extinguished, and someone pulled a fire alarm, triggering the evacuation of about 750 patrons. No one was injured.
The brief fire caused about $1,000 in damage to the building, and about $6,000 to contents, most of it from the sprinklers that kicked on. Police said they found an empty gas can at the top of the stairs, which led to the bar’s mezzanine overlooking the dance floor.