Ex-Employee Admits Setting Fire to Niagara Falls School Garage
A former Niagara Falls school employee has admitted to setting a fire in the district's maintenance garage last year.
The Buffalo News reports Rickey Ponds, 23, pled guilty to charges of attempted third-degree arson in the incident, which destroyed the district's maintenance garage, as well as six vehicles.
Ponds is scheduled for sentencing on June 16.
On Feb. 25, 2020, Ponds was told of a job change that reduced his pay by about $2,000 a year.
Surveillance video showed Ponds' car returned to the maintenance building behind Niagara Falls High School between 8:15 and 8:30 p.m. Laurrie said Ponds sprayed diesel fuel stored for vehicles around the interior of the building and lit it.
He turned himself into authorities while the fire was still burning. The Buffalo News says Ponds will have to pay $25,000 in restitution to cover the school district's insurance deductible.
Ponds will owe the district $25,000 in restitution to cover its insurance deductible.
Niagara Falls Superintendent Mark R. Laurrie said the cost to repair the garage is about $1.1 million, and is almost finished.
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