FREEHOLD – A Middletown man has been charged with arson after purposely setting his family’s home on fire, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Thomas A. Farzan, 30, of Middletown, was charged with third degree Arson and fourth degree Resisting Arrest in connection with a fire at 161 Cherry Tree Lane.

At approximately 5:42 p.m., on March 4, the Middletown Township Police and Fire Departments responded to a fire at 161 Cherry Tree Lane. Upon arrival, authorities observed smoke billowing from the home.  Upon attempting to find an entry point to the home, officials noticed a male standing near the back door. Upon questioning, Farzan attempted to flee police and after a brief struggle, was arrested.

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An investigation from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Middletown Township Police and the Monmouth County Fire Marshal revealed that Farzan had been staying at the house recently and that the house is owned by Farzan’s family, where his mother also resides. No one was found to be in the home at the time law enforcement and fire officials arrived. The investigation further determined that the fire originated in the living room of the home and was incendiary based on the pattern of the fire.

Farzan is currently lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution and will have a Detention Hearing before Judge Paul X. Escandon on Tuesday March 10, 2020.

If convicted of third degree Arson, Farzan faces five years in a New Jersey State Prison. If convicted of fourth degree Resisting Arrest, Farzan faces eighteen months in a New Jersey State Prison.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Caitlin Sidley.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State Law.