Suspect charged with arson

JACKSON — A township resident was arrested on Aug. 22 and charged with setting fires in the community.

Police said John P. Petrovsky, 22, was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated arson, one count of criminal mischief, and driving while intoxicated. Police said Petrovsky is a suspect in a series of fires that were set in Putnam Park, Perrineville Road, on Polebrook Road and on Conor Road.

Although an investigation is ongoing, police said it appears there are no other suspects. Bail was set at $25,000 by state Superior Court Judge Peter Giovine, sitting in Toms River. Petrovsky posted bail and was released.

According to a police press release, at about 4 a.m. Patrol Officer Richard Bosley observed two brush fires in Putnam Park — also known as "Jackson Forest" — on West Veterans Highway/Route 528 in the Cassville section of the township.

At about 5 a.m., several more suspicious blazes were reported. One was at the fencing of a home under construction on Conor Road in Woodmere Estates. The property owner was identified as Arcon Development, LLC.

Another fire was seen at Perrineville Road, just south of Beatrice Lane.

A fire was then reported at Perrineville Road north of Reed Road, near the Six Flags Great Adventure maintenance gate. Several separate small leaf and brush fires were discovered on Perrineville Road, according to police.

Additional fires were also located in the area of Polebrook Road, which runs be-tween Route 528 and Reed Road, and on a dirt road/fire access trail off Route 528 near St. Monica’s Church.

According to police, it appeared the fires were intentionally set. Even as fire companies were responding to the first fires, additional fires were being reported.

Cassville Fire Company Station 56 and Jackson Mills Fire Company Station 54 responded to the multiple brush fires and contained the blazes.

Police said Gary Poppe, chief of the Jackson Mills Fire Company, observed a vehicle leaving the area of the Polebrook Road fire scene. The vehicle, a red 1995 Ford Escort, was subsequently stopped by Officer Mike Grochowski. That occurred about two hours after the initial fires had been observed by Bosley, according to police.

The fire scene investigation was a joint effort conducted by Jackson police detectives Burt Salisbury and Phil Cochran, investigators from the Ocean County Pros-ecutor’s Office Arson Task Force Robert Abrams and Dave Karpovage, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Detective James Pissott and Detective Dean Hillman of the New Jersey State Police Arson-Bomb Squad.

— Joyce Blay