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LEOMINSTER, MASS. — An employee angry about a work assignment admitted he tried to burn down Tucker Housewares' plant in Leominster on Feb. 16, state fire investigators said.

Elieza Valentin, 20, was charged with burning a building, said Trooper Timothy Bombard of the Massachusetts fire marshal's office in Boston.

Valentin, one of 29 people in the injection molding area that shift, told investigators he was angry at being assigned to a particular machine because it meant more work for him, Bombard said. According to police, Valentin used a break period to walk through the warehouse section and set fire to a carton.

Officials could not provide a damage estimate. Damage was confined to a relatively small portion of the 600,000-square-foot facility, but water seeped up through stacks of cardboard boxes holding finished goods, causing them to collapse, Bombard said. Valentin was being held on $10,000 bail pending a pre-trial hearing scheduled for March 3, Bombard said.

Company officials were not available for comment.

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