Two County Men Indicted on Arson Charges

The charges are in connection with a fire they allegedly set in a vacant Thompson Avenue house.

Two Somerset County men have been indicted on arson charges in connection with a fire they allegedly set in a vacant house on Thompson Avenue May 2, according to an article in the Messenger Gazette.

Lance Chillemi, 24, of Bridgewater, and James Gavazzi, 24, of North Plainfield, were charged May 2 with arson after police responded to the fire in the early hours of May 2.

According to the article, court documents filed at the Somerset County Court House report that both men have been indicted on charges of aggravated arson and burglary, while Chillemi has also been indicted on charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.

Chillemi posted his $50,000 cash bail May 3 and was released, the article said, while, as of June 15, Gavazzi had not yet posted his $35,000 cash bail.

Police responded to Thompson Avenue May 2 at around 1:30 a.m. and saw an active fire, and someone in the basement of the house. Just after they arrived, they saw an individual run from the house into a wooded area, and police, moments later, saw Chillemi and Gavazzi walking on Thompson Avenue, their clothes smelling of smoke.

Chillemi fought back while being arrested, injuring one of the police officers.

The Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Arson Task Force also responded to the scene, and determined that the fire had been set intentionally.

Bill Rose, with the Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department, said the fire was in the kitchen area of the house, and the fire was visibly emanating from the side entrance and kitchen area.

The house, Rose said, is currently for sale and vacant.


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