Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Little Egg Harbor Township Police Chief Richard Buzby today announce the arrest on July 14th of Phillip Harrison, 48, of Little Egg Harbor Township for the intentional setting of fires at 1021 Radio Road (a vacant home) and 847 Radio Road (a vacant commercial structure) in Little Egg Harbor Township.
Officials say Harrison is charged with two counts of 2nd degree Aggravated Arson and two counts of 3rd degree Burglary. He is lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
The arrest stems from the investigation began just after midnight on July 8th, when the Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department and surrounding fire departments were dispatched to 1021 Radio Road for a report of a house fire.
Upon their arrival, fire was observed emanating from the both the interior and exterior of the home. After the fire was extinguished, an investigation into the fire was conducted by the Little Egg Harbor Police department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Unit and High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CIU, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office and NJ State Fire Marshall K9 Unit.
The subsequent investigation by the partnering agencies determined the origin of the fire at 1021 Radio Road was within northeast corner of the structure along the floor. The cause of the fire was incendiary by an open flame to available combustibles.
The investigation would also discover that there was an additional fire that same night that went undiscovered at 847 Radio Road, which was confined to the interior of the building and had extinguished itself without spreading further. Both structures had been vacant for a time and all utilities had been disconnected.
According to authorities, patrol response by Little Egg Harbor Patrols, Investigators’ examination of area video surveillance and on scene physical evidence forensics assisted investigators in identifying Harrison as allegedly being responsible for entering both structures and setting the fires. On July 14th, as a part of the continuing investigation, Phillip Harrison came to Little Egg Harbor Police Department where he was subsequently charged with the above offenses.
The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.