Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi held a press conference Thursday announcing the arrest of Morris County Sheriff's officer and assistant fire chief, Jason Campbell.
The Morris County Prosecutor's Office, in conjunction with the Parsippany Police Department conducted an undercover investigation into the September 2008 and June 2010 fires of two homes in Parsippany that were allegedly started by 33-year-old Campbell.
The September 2008 fire, Bianchi said, was ignited using an "incendiary device," which was attached to the garage of a home on Old Bloomfield Avenue in Parsippany. Campbell, according to Bianchi, enlisted the help of a youth involved with the Morris County Explorers Program. The Explorer youth, who Bianchi has declined to name, has only been described as a "confidential informant.
In the June 2010 fire at a home on Ute Avenue, Bianchi said Campbell stands accused of deliberately setting the fire, then arriving to the scene to help extinguish the blaze.
Described as a "dedicated" veteran volunteer firefighter of 15 years, Campbell was arrested Tuesday, February 15, 2011, and charged with numerous counts of aggravated arson, official misconduct, conspiracy, and burglary. The investigation into Campbell is ongoing as he remains as suspect in connection to a series of other fires that occurred in Parsippany, Bianchi said.
Campbell served as the Assistant Fire Chief at the District 5 volunteer fire department in Parsippany, where his father, Robert Campbell also serves as a firefighter. He joined the Morris County sheriff's department in 2000, and his status is "unpaid" for reasons not related to his arrest, The Star-Ledger reported.
Acknowledging the fact that Campbell's arrest would cast a negative shadow over his reputation, Dave Cavalier, District 5 Fire Chief, assured the resident's of Parsippany that "they were all completely safe."
As Bianchi spoke during the press conference, he stressed the importance of understanding that the charges against Campbell were "merely allegations" and that he is "innocent unless otherwise proven guilty in a court of law."
Campbell remains at the Sussex County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail with no ten percent option.