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Resident Assistant At Massachusetts College Accused of Starting Six Separate Dorm Fires

Janelys Pimentel, an RA at Wheaton College, allegedly admitted to "being stupid" and starting a series of small blazes at the school.

By Eric Shorey

A resident assistant at Wheaton College in Massachusetts was caught allegedly attempting to start a fire has now been accused of setting a total of six separate blazes.

Janelys Pimentel, 22, was arrested on Thursday after security cameras showed her attempting to ignite a wad of paper towels shoved into a water fountain at around 3:45 am, leading to an evacuation from the building. The school has been plagued by a series of small fires since Nov. 28, none of which caused any injuries.

Pimentel, who has no prior criminal record, now faces psychological evaluation at the request of her lawyer, Jason Maloney, before it can be determined whether she is competent to stand trial. She had denied her involvement in the fire until detectives showed her a photo taken from surveillance footage, at which point she admitted, "I did it," according to a police report.

When asked about her motivations, Pimentel said that she "wasn’t trying to burn down the building. She was just being stupid,” according to the report.

Pimentel said that she drank three glasses of wine at a party the night before, according to The Sun Chronicle, an Attleboro, Massachusetts newspaper.

Pimentel allegedly confessed and provided details about the other incidents on Nov. 28 and Dec. 14, as well as three separate fires set on Dec. 2. The fires had been started at McIntire Hall, a 120-person dorm, while students slept. The fires were put out by sprinklers, which caused some water damage.

At her hearing, where her charges were announced, Pimentel could be seen crying. The charges she now faces include two counts of arson, four counts of wantonly injuring real and personal property, and six counts of vandalism, according to The Taunton Gazette.

Pimentel was ordered to be held without bail, according to WHDH 7 News Boston.

[Photo: Norton Police Department]

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