Acting Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp and Mount Olive Police Chief Mark Spitzer announce that Douglas J. Scherr, 33 years old, of Budd Lake in the Township of Mount Olive, New Jersey, has been charged with two counts of Second Degree Aggravated Arson related to a fire that occurred on May 2, 2014.
On May 2, 2014, at approximately 3:13 a.m., emergency personnel were dispatched to Apartment 8A of 33 Eagle Rock Village, Budd Lake, in the Township of Mount Olive on a call of a smoke condition with an audible fire alarm. In response to this call, law enforcement officers responded to Apartment 8A and encountered heavy smoke. The fire department responded to the location and was able to extinguish a fire in the kitchen area of the apartment. The source of the fire was determined to be a glass candle that was underneath a chair with clothing draped over it. Throughout the apartment, officials located multiple propane tanks that were venting a flammable substance into the apartment. Officials were able to evacuate the adjacent apartments and no one was injured. Officials were also able to extinguish the fire and rendered the location safe. The fire was caused by a deliberate incendiary act allegedly committed by Scherr.
Investigation revealed that the lessee of Apartment 8A is Douglas J. Scherr. He was not present at the scene at the time that emergency personnel responded.
Scherr was arrested in New York State on the afternoon of May 2, 2014. He will be held there pending formal extradition proceedings.
On May 2, 2014, the Honorable Mary Gibbons Whipple, J.S.C. authorized a warrant-complaint charging Scherr with two counts of Aggravated Arson, crimes of the second degree.
Judge Whipple set bail at $100,000 full cash, bond or property without a ten percent option.
Acting Prosecutor commended Detective/Supervisor Christoph Kimker of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Arson-Environmental Unit and Detective/Corporal David Turner of the Mount Olive Police Department for their work in regard to this matter.
Anyone with information relating to these charges is urged to contact the Mount Olive Police Department at 973-691-0850 or the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Arson-Environmental Crimes Unit at 973-285-6200.
Acting Prosecutor Knapp and Chief Spitzer thank the Arson-Environmental Crimes Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the Mount Olive Police Department, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office-Criminal Investigation Section, as well as the New York State Police and Chenango County (NY) Sheriff’s Department.
The charges and allegations are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Any inquires regarding this press release may be directed to First Assistant Prosecutor/SDAG Thomas A. Zelante at 973-285-6252 or [email protected]