Former Niagara Falls CSD employee who admitted to setting maintenance garage fire pleads guilty to arson charge

Crime

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Rickey Ponds, a former Niagara Falls City School District employee, pleaded guilty to third-degree attempted arson, according to the Niagara County District Attorney’s office.

Ponds was a temporary groundsman with the district back in February 2020 when he admitted to setting a maintenance garage behind Niagara Falls High School on fire.  

The garage housed snowplows and tractors, much of which was destroyed — the fire costing an estimated $5 million worth of damage, according to Superintendent Mark Laurrie.

When News 4 spoke with Superintendent Laurrie in 2020 — he said Ponds had not given him a reason why the garage was set ablaze.

“He did not give a reason, I have not heard a reason. All I know is that he told the officers that he made a mistake, those were the only words he shared,” Laurrie said.

Ponds could face a maximum of seven years behind bars when he’s sentence on June 16.

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.

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