Woman charged with arson in GGC fire

Andrea Wortel

Andrea Wortel

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The suspect in a fire that destroyed a vehicle and filled the parking deck at Georgia Gwinnett College with smoke last month is in law enforcement custody, a Fire Department official said Wednesday.

Lawrenceville resident Andrea Wortel, 25, turned herself in at the Gwinnett County Jail on Friday on second-degree arson charges.

Wortel admitted to fire investigators that she lit contents inside the older model compact car in an attempt to harm herself, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge.

The incident happened Aug. 14 on the third floor of a five-story parking deck at the college. The car Wortel was driving was the only vehicle on that level, and no other damages or injuries were reported.

"Investigators believe that she didn't intend to cause actual fire damage to the vehicle or to harm anyone else," Rutledge said.

Wortel was at the scene when fire crews arrived and was treated for minor smoke inhalation. She told investigators at the time the fire, which destroyed the vehicle, may have been caused by a mechanical issue. The car belonged to her father, Rutledge said.

Rutledge said Wortel is neither a GGC student nor affiliated with the school. She remains at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond, pending a court hearing scheduled Friday.