Passaic County officials announced that Ms. Yanit Valdez, 38, of New York, New York, has been indicted in relation to an August 3, 2020 fire at 40 Cianci Street in the City of Paterson.
According to officials, a Passaic County Grand Jury has returned Indictment No. 21-04-000133-I, charging Ms. Valdez with two counts of second degree Aggravated Arson, four counts of third-degree Aggravated Assault, and one count of fourth-degree Creating a Risk of Widespread Injury for her involvement in the fire that caused four firefighters to be hospitalized, and 60 residents to be displaced.
Officials say the investigation revealed that Ms. Valdez, following an argument with a resident of 40 Cianci Street, lit paper towels on fire inside one of the apartments, thereafter causing a couch in that apartment to ignite. The fire then spread to numerous attached residences.
A Superior Court Judge previously granted the State’s motion for the pretrial detention of Ms. Valdez. She is currently detained in the Passaic County Jail, pending the disposition of this case.
Ms. Valdez will be scheduled for arraignment at a date to be determined before a Superior Court Judge. A criminal indictment is merely an accusation.
Despite this accusation, the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.