A woman arrested in connection with a fire that occurred at the former and abandoned Cinderella Motel, 623 Kickapoo Spur, back on Oct. 12 pleaded guilty to a second-degree arson charge and has received a suspended sentence, court records show.

A woman arrested in connection with a fire that occurred at the former and abandoned Cinderella Motel, 623 Kickapoo Spur, back on Oct. 12 pleaded guilty to a second-degree arson charge and has received a suspended sentence, court records show.

Shawnee firefighters responded to that scene just after 9 a.m. that day, where they extinguished a fire in the empty swimming pool area, which is in the enclosed courtyard of the motel that closed many years ago.

Jennifer C. Valdez, 37, was formally charged in Pottawatomie County District Court with the felony count of second-degree arson. According to a Shawnee police report, Valdez was arrested in the case after Shawnee firefighters and emergency personnel responded to that scene.

Shawnee Police Officer Rich Rider’s report shows he was there directing traffic for fire crews when he observed a woman come out of the motel carrying a handful of stuff. He approached her and asked what she was doing.

She said, “this is my reward for setting those people free,” the report reads. The officer asked if she was inside the building, the report shows, and she told Rider she was and that she was one who started the fire so she could get out of the building.

She told the same story to a Shawnee fire marshal, the reports shows. Because she indicated other people could be inside, Shawnee firefighters searched every room at the old motel, but no one else was found. The fire was contained to the old swimming pool area, but it did produce a lot of smoke, fire crews said.

According to court records, Valdez withdrew her previous plea at last week's felony docket, as well as her request for a competency evaluation in this case.

She pleaded guilty to the single charge and received a 5-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay a fine and court costs, as well as go through a mental health assessment and continue with treatment while on supervised probation, court records show.