A student is facing numerous charges in connection with a number of suspicious fires at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts.
Police said Janelys Pimentel, 22, was arrested Thursday on two counts of arson, four counts of wantonly injuring real and personal property, and six counts of vandalism in connection with numerous incidents that took place in a residence hall.
Police said the latest incident took place at 3:26 a.m. Thursday when Norton Fire, Norton Police and Wheaton Public Safety responded to the 3rd floor of McIntyre Hall. When crews arrived, a fire was observed in the hallway from an old bubbler.
Students were evacuated and the fire was safely extinguished.
Student Held Without Bail in Connection to Arson at College
Authorities said no injuries were reported in any of the other incidents which included ones on Dec. 14, Dec. 2, and Nov. 28.
During her arraignment Thursday in Attleboro District Court, prosecutors say the senior, who is a resident assistant in McIntyre Hall, admitted to starting six fires.
"The defendant did admit to starting the fire," said a court prosecutor.
Prosecutors say through a police investigation, Pimentel was seen on a hidden camera set up by state police not only starting Thursday's fire but then evacuating students.
"The fire alarm starts flashing, lights start. Shortly after she exits her room she starts knocking on doors to alert other students of the alarm and exits the building," said the prosecutor.
Wheaton College Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Kate McCaffrey released a statement saying officials were relieved that an arrest had been made and that safety was their top priority.
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"I appreciate how disturbing these incidents have been. While no one was hurt, and only minimal damage was sustained, these incidents were disruptive—particularly to the residents of McIntyre—and they represented a threat to the safety and security of our campus community," said McCaffrey.
She added that assistance was available for any student who was "feeling anxious or unsettled" by the events.
In addition to being held without bail, Pimentel was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation. She's due back in court for a hearing next week.