WATCHUNG, NJ - Authorities arrested Jesus Aviles and charged him with arson for setting Thursday’s fire at the Avalon apartment complex. Aviles is believed to have injured himself while setting the blaze. Aviles is a resident in the Avalon apartment complex.
North Plainfield and Watchung police and fire responded to a fire at the Avalon apartment complex around 2:00pm on Thursday, June 4th. Detectives determined the fire began in an unsecured room on the third floor. According to detectives at the scene and members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Arson Task Force, multiple rolls of toilet paper were soaked in gasoline and set ablaze along with a “John Freida” curling iron and a large box of matches with green match heads.
Investigators at the scene from the Somerset County Prosecutors Office and the Watchung Police Department also identified two gas cans covered with what appeared to be melted black plastic bags in the first floor compactor.
A number of Avalon residents said to authorities they suspected Aviles had been banging on doors telling the residents to get out because of a fire in the trash room.
Police executed a search warrant for Aviles residence at the Avalon apartment complex and confiscated two empty Scott brand toilet paper plastic bags, matches with green heads, black plastic trash bags, an empty “John Frieda” curling iron box and a cap for a gasoline can, which had an odor of gasoline.
Aviles returned to the apartment complex at 10 p.m. with injuries to his hands, wearing a hospital bracelet and singed hair.
Aviles was arrested and charged with second-degree aggravated arson.