• Michelle Dawn Mooney

Vineland man arrested for arson in fire he reported to 911

A Vineland man who called in Hamilton Township fire last month is now charged with setting it. Matthew Hesser, 35, called 911 reporting a fire in the area of West Point and Fulton avenues in the township’s Mizpah section at about 1:10 a.m. Aug. 16, police said. Responding officers along with firefighters from Mizpah, Mays Landing and Laureldale found a shed on fire in the 1300 block of West Point Avenue, police said. It was quickly extinguished and no one was injured. During the investigation, Hesser was identified as a suspect. While police said Hesser was a member of the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company, Chief Jay Davenport II said that wasn’t the case. Hesser had filled out an application and was set to have a physical Friday, the chief told BreakingAC. The night of the fire, Davenport said Hesser came to the station with another firefighter to help them clean trucks. “Next thing I know, we’re getting called to a shed fire,” Davenport said. Davenport said Hesser walked down to the fire scene, but was told to step back. The chief called for the investigation, knowing the fire was suspicious. He noted there was no electric or anything in the shed that would have caused the fire. Hesser’s Facebook page lists himself as being a firefighter at the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company. He working was interviewed by detectives on Thursday, and is now charged with arson and criminal mischief for intentionally starting the fire, police said. Hesser was released on a summons, per criminal justice reform, police said. The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Unit, the State of New Jersey Division of Fire Safety, Township of Hamilton Fire Safety, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the New Jersey State Police assisted with the investigation.

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