Firefighter charged with starting fire in Wanaque, NJ woods on Halloween
WANAQUE — A volunteer firefighter is charged with arson for starting a blaze in the woods behind an apartment complex, according to the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office.
Shannon Muller, 40, of Wanaque, ran when a police officer saw him lighting a piece of paper with a match on Monday morning, prosecutors said.
Officials say Muller was spotted around 9 a.m. placing the burning paper on the ground in a wooded area behind the housing complex on Warrens Way. As the surrounding brush caught fire, he ran.
The officer caught Muller before he could leave the woods and took him into custody, according to authorities.
Prosecutors identified Muller as a volunteer with the Wanaque Borough Fire Department. Fire Chief Mark Olivieri told New Jersey 101.5 that at this time, Muller is on suspension until proven guilty.
The firefighter is charged with third-degree arson. The offense could carry three to five years in state prison, according to prosecutors.
Muller was released following a court hearing Tuesday. His next court appearance is set for Nov. 29.