‘The devil made me do it’: Boston woman sets fire to ‘haunted’ building

A Boston woman has been charged with arson for allegedly setting fire to her building because it was “haunted”, officials said.

Nikea Rivera allegedly ignited her triple-decker Dorchester shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to Suffolk County documents obtained by Boston 25.

“I had to. This house is haunted. I set the house on fire,” Rivera reportedly told booking agents.

Smoke is seen coming out of the building, where a fire broke out on the first floor on December 26, 2022.
Boston Fire Department
Firefighters work from separate balconies of the building after the fire broke out on the first floor on December 26, 2022.
Firefighters are working from separate balconies of the building after the fire broke out on the first floor on Tuesday.
Boston Fire Department

“The devil made me do this, there are ghosts in my house.”

Rivera, 45, allegedly started the fire on the first floor of the house at 74 rue Mora. The two-alarm fire quickly spread through the three stories of the wood-frame house to the roof.

Two residents on the second floor were rescued by Boston firefighters. One of the neighbors was taken to a local hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.

A Boston woman told police she started the fire because the house was haunted.
A Boston woman named Nikea Rivera told police she started the fire because the house was haunted.
Boston Fire Department

She reportedly told a witness, “I’m sorry, I had to do this,” before walking away from hell.

Police later tracked down Rivera and said she admitted to the crime.

The fire charred the left side of the house, shared pictures by the spectacle of firefighters. The window panes of the whole house were blown out and shattered.

Fire crews work inside the three-storey wood-frame house at 74 Mora Street in Dorchester on December 26, 2022.
Fire crews work on the three-storey timber frame at 74 Mora Street in Dorchester on December 26, 2022.
Boston Fire Department

Rivera was arrested and charged with arson. A judge ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health’s Worcester Hospital and Recovery Center, according to District Attorney Kevin Hayden.

“It is fortunate that the actions of this woman did not cause serious injury or death to residents or responders. His statements are obviously troubling and an immediate assessment is the appropriate next step,” Hayden said.

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