Woman pleads not guilty to burning books at Tacoma library

A woman pleaded not guilty Monday to charges she used newly bought lighter fluid to set several books on fire at the Tacoma library’s main branch.

Sharon Agnes Sailly, known as Sunhine to library staff members, faces one count of first-degree arson in connection to the Saturday blaze, according to court records.

The library at 1102 Tacoma Ave. S. was closed after the blaze because of smoke and fumes. It is expected to reopen 11 a.m. Tuesday (Oct. 21).

An attorney for Sailly could not be reached Monday.

Charging papers give this account:

Surveillance video shows Sailly, 60, walk into the library with a bag, head to the northwestern corner and set several books on fire using lighter fluid. Flames damaged the books, carpet and a shelf.

Staff members put out the fire before firefighters arrived. Visitors were escorted out of the building.

Police found a half-empty bottle of charcoal lighter, and a Safeway receipt in the bag Sailly left behind that showed the accelerant was bought that morning.

Officers found the woman at Ninth Street and Commerce Avenue. She told them she had been at the library earlier and had an issue with a staff member.

Sailly admitted to having matches and being at Safeway that day as well. Asked whether she bought the lighter fluid, she said: “I wanted to burn the library.”

She expected the sprinkler system to go off, she said.

Sailly has a previous arson conviction, prosecutors said. Details of that fire were not available.

Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Sailly held in lieu of $500,000 bail. Among the conditions of her release, Sailly was not to contact the library or have incendiary materials.