GRPD: Hospital arson suspect made it onto helipad

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man is in custody after Grand Rapids police say he lit a small fire in the hallway of Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital before making his way to the hospital’s helipad.

Records show 27-year-old Jilmar Ramos was arrested in connection to the incident. He’s being held on felony charges of arson, damaging property and disturbing the peace.

No one was injured in the incident around 8:20 a.m. Wednesday at the hospital at 100 Michigan St. NE.

Police say Ramos started the fire in an upper level used for mechanical purposes and pulled a fire alarm. He then made his way onto the helipad, though it’s unclear what he intended to do there.

The fire caused only minimal damage. Hospital security took Ramos into custody minutes after he got onto the helipad, police said.

Spectrum Health spokesman Bruce Rossman said the incident didn’t impact hospital operations and the helistop remained open. 

“The safety of patients, visitors and staff are a priority at Spectrum Health, and people were not at risk during this incident,” he stated.

Spectrum Health officials pointed out the helipad is a secured location, meaning only hospital employees should have access to it. However, a spokesperson for the hospital confirmed Ramos is not a hospital employee.

Grand Rapids Police Department Sgt. Cathy Williams says officers were reviewing hospital security video to try to determine how the suspect got onto the helipad. Citing “ongoing safety concerns,” Spectrum Health would not comment on whether pulling a fire alarm would have allowed Ramos access to the helipad.

Williams added that detectives were interviewing Ramos to figure out a motive and determine what charges he could face.

Rossman said hospital security responded quickly, as did Grand Rapids police and firefighters. He says Spectrum Health is cooperating with police but will not comment further at this time, since the investigation is active.

Records show Ramos has previous misdemeanor convictions for drunken driving in 2017 and invasion of privacy in October.

He could be arraigned in the hospital case as early as Thursday.

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