14-year-old charged with arson for setting fire at Chez Vous roller rink in Dorchester

A 14-year-old Mattapan girl is charged setting fire to the front door of Chez Vous, a beleaguered roller-skating rink in Dorchester that provides an oasis from gang violence, prosecutors said.

Around 120 people were inside the building when the girl allegedly shoved burning paper underneath the door, sparking the fire, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement. Employees at the rink put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher and nobody was hurt, although the damage is estimated at $3,000, the statement said.

“Thank goodness those employees kept their cool,” Conley said. “We don’t even want to consider what could have happened if they hadn’t acted quickly, calmly, and appropriately.”

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The 14-year-old girl, whose name has not been released due to her age, was arraigned in a juvenile session of Dorchester District Court Monday. She was released into her grandmother’s custody and ordered to abide by a 5 p.m. curfew, attend school, and stay away from the rink, the statement said.

The teenager allegedly set the fire around 10 p.m. Saturday after being denied admittance to the rink, which she had been banned from for 30 days after fighting with, and threatening, other customers, Chez Vous staff told investigators, the statement said.

The 80-year-old landmark, which for years has attracted youth eager to avoid violence in the neighborhood, is no stranger to trouble. In 1994, several gunman barged into the rink and sprayed skaters with bullets, injuring seven. The rink has also been burdened by financial troubles and narrowly avoided foreclosure on several occasions.

The 14-year-old girl will return to court May 29.

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