NJ man arrested for assaulting cop as his house burned down, police say
A Monmouth County man has been charged with assault on a police officer after he attempted to push past authorities to get to his home as the structure was being destroyed by fire this past Valentine's Day, police said.
Police say Victor Malgeri, 57, wasn't home when a massive fire broke out in his Hartshorne Road home in Ocean, Monmouth County on Feb. 14. The blaze was reported at about 7:58 p.m. by Nicholas Kagabines, who also lives in the home and told Officer Kevin Redmond that no one else was in the residence.
When the officer arrived at the location, he observed heavy black smoke coming from the house. After speaking with Kagabines, the officer checked the exterior of the home and noticed flames coming from the bottom floor kitchen area, Ocean Police said in a press release.
Firefighters from Oakhurst Fire Department, Wanamassa Fire Department, Tinton Falls Fire Department quickly arrived and worked to extinguish the blaze and determine the cause of the fire.
While authorities were investigating the fire, Malgeri arrived on the scene, according to police. Officers began to interview him in an attempt to gather information that might help with the investigation, at which time Malgeri allegedly refused to listen to police when they instructed him to "stay out of the active fire scene."
"Malgeri became uncooperative and disorderly towards the officers. He then subsequently physically pushed into Officer Redmond during his tirade," police said in a statement.
According to police, Malgeri was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and released on complaint summons pending a future court date.
No injuries were reported and the cause of the blaze remains under investigation by Ocean Township District #1 Fire Marshal Craig Flannigan, Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office and Ocean Township Police Detective Jeff Malone.
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor for news at NJ 101.5. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.