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.

According to the Buffalo News:

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.

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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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