U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Arson in car parked under Burien apartment building could have resulted in deaths and serious injuries but for quick fire department response
Seattle – A 23-year-old Tukwila, Washington, man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 7 years in prison for retaliating against an informant and conspiracy to use fire to obstruct justice, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Jordan Sanchez was arrested January 20, 2021, for the November 20, 2020, fire at a Burien apartment complex. At the sentencing hearing Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez noted that Sanchez… “threw a lit firebomb into a vehicle under an apartment building where many innocent people were living…. An extremely serious offense.”
“Respect for each other, and the laws and norms of our democracy, is vital to maintaining safe and healthy communities,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “Seeing the pictures of the burned-out car and the damage to the apartment building shows that Mr. Sanchez lacked both. Both the person who ordered the fire and Mr. Sanchez are being held accountable for their dangerous conduct and their efforts to subvert the rule of law and obstruct justice.”
According to records filed in the case, Sanchez was a drug customer of 30-year-old David Rosario. Rosario was arrested after selling guns and drugs to an undercover federal agent. Rosario blamed the person who introduced him to the agent and wanted to retaliate against them. Rosario offered to pay Sanchez with fentanyl pills for burning the informant’s car. In the early morning hours of November 20, 2020, Sanchez filled a beer bottle with gasoline, stuffed a t-shirt in the bottle and took it to the apartment complex in search of the informant’s convertible. Sanchez cut a hole in the roof of the car, lit the t-shirt on fire and dropped the gasoline loaded beer bottle in the car.
Fortunately, one of the apartment residents smelled burning rubber and called 9-1-1. Another caller reported being trapped in the apartment complex by thick black smoke. But for King County Fire’s quick response, lives could have been lost.
As prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo, “A King County Sheriff’s Office arson investigator believed that the fire would have spread to the complex and killed apartment residents if it had not been discovered so quickly… Sanchez risked the lives of apartment residents who were awakened by smoke and sirens and ran from their beds in the middle of the night, or, worse, were trapped in their apartment surrounded by black smoke.”
Sanchez was ordered to pay $77,495 in restitution to the victims of the fire. That amount could increase if there are additional claims.
In March 2022, Sanchez pleaded guilty to obstructing justice by retaliating against an informant and conspiracy to use fire to obstruct justice.
Rosario was sentenced earlier this month to 11 years in prison for his role in the fire, and for drug and gun crimes.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the King County Sheriff’s Office, with help from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica M. Manca.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.