FAIRFIELD, NJ – A distraught Hopatcong man turned on his father’s gas stove, blew out the pilot lights, poured a trail of gasoline from the kitchen to the bathroom, got in the tub and lit a match, said authorities.
But John Dagostino’s attempt on Thursday to blow up the house and himself failed, said Fairfield police. Instead of an explosion, Dagostino got arrested.
The incident began to unfold Wednesday evening when Dagostino was arrested by Fairfield police on an outstanding warrant from Hopatcong Borough Municipal Court, police said. “Pursuant to instructions issued by the Hopatcong Municipal Court, Dagostino was processed and release on his own recognizance pending an April 14, 2016 appearance in court,” they said.
After being released, Dagostino, “distraught over some personal issues,” went to his father’s house on Oak Road in Fairfield, said police. They said Dagostino had been staying at the home.
“It is alleged that he first gathered up all the pets in the residence and several family photos and secured them in a vehicle,” police reported. “He then turned on the gas jets to the stove and extinguished the pilot lights in an attempt to have the house fill with natural gas.”
Police said Dagostino poured gasoline from the kitchen to the bathroom. “He then got into the bathtub and ignited the gasoline” they said. “Fortunately, the house did not explode and it appears that the fire burned itself out before any substantial damage could occur.”
The unharmed Dagostino then went to his brother’s house nearby and revealed his failed endeavor, said police, who said they dispatched the Fairfield Fire Department to the scene and placed Dagostino under arrest. He was charged with one count of aggravated arson and taken to the East Orange Hospital Crisis Unit for evaluation, said police.
“We are very thankful that there was no explosion or fire and that this individual is getting the assistance he needs,” said Fairfield Police Chief Anthony Manna in a statement. “This incident could have had serious unintended consequences to many innocent people.”