A woman in Boston is in custody facing an arson charge after officials claimed she made some disturbing admissions while firefighters attempted to put out a fire raging through her apartment building.
At around 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, members of the Boston Fire Department were called to a two-alarm fire in a three-story wooden structure located in Dorchester, about eight miles south of downtown. The fire began on the first floor of the structure but spread quickly to all three levels. Two residents on the second floor had to be rescued via ground ladder, and one of them had to be taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.
Just before noon, a tweet from Boston FD indicated that the fire had officially been doused.
"Heavy fire is knocked," the tweet claimed, though it also added that "[a]ll companies" were still "working on hot spots."
With the fire under control, investigators at the scene soon began to suspect that a female resident of the building, 45-year-old Nikea Rivera, had been the one to start the fire. According to reports, Rivera made a series of disturbing admissions regarding the fire and the building itself that morning.
"I had to do it," Rivera allegedly told some police officers. "That house is haunted. I lit the house on fire."
"The devil made me do it," Rivera reportedly added. "There are ghosts in my house."
Rivera was then arrested and charged with one count of arson. In a court hearing later that day, a judge ordered Rivera to be given a mental health examination at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital. Rivera is scheduled to appear in court again on January 13.
With a suspect in custody, city officials say they are just grateful that the fire did not cause any serious injuries.
"It’s fortunate that this woman’s actions did not result in any residents or responders being seriously injured or killed," said District Attorney Kevin Hayden. "Her statements are obviously disturbing, and an immediate evaluation is the proper next step."
The following video shows some of the clean-up efforts later that evening: