NJ Firefighter Pleads Guilty to Torching Home

Deptford volunteer firefighter admits that he used gas from the firehouse to light a Deptford home on fire

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBC Local Media
    Stock image.

    A South Jersey firefighter admitted Monday to intentionally setting a fire last year.

    Deptford Township volunteer firefighter Michael Petrilak, of the 500 block of Elm Avenue in Deptford, admitted to torching a vacant home last year, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office.

    Petrilak, 23, pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree aggravated arson, prosecutors said.

    The volunteer firefighter admitted that he and another man, who prosecutors say is Lewis Brooks Jr., 20, of the 1200 block of Delsea Drive in Westville, got gasoline from the firehouse on Jan. 26, 2012, and used it to set a vacant home ablaze on Cattell Road.

    Brooks’ case is still pending, prosecutors said.

    Petrilak has remained behind bars since his arrest in the days following the blaze. He is set to be sentenced on March 1. Prosecutors will suggest that Petrilak get five years in state prison with at least a year served until he is eligible for parole and that he be evaluated for the fire-setter program.

    By pleading guilty, Petrilak gives up his right to hold any future public position, like firefighter, in the state, prosecutors said.

    He also must, along with a codefendant (if found guilty), pay $60,000 in restitution.