Authorities say a Monmouth county volunteer firefighter is facing arson charges after responded to a blaze on church property that he ignited himself minutes earlier.

Nicholas Joyce, 19 of Fair Haven, is facing one count of second degree aggravated arson in connection with incident, according to Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Authorities say the Fair Haven teen was arrested Saturday and is being charged with setting fire to a storage shed Friday afternoon at the United Methodist Church on Ridge Road.

Crews from the Fair Haven Volunteer Fire Department - including Joyce - responded to the church at 4:28 p.m. and found that the exterior rear of a storage shed outside the church was on fire. Volunteers extinguished the blaze, which was contained to the exterior of the structure, according to authorities.

The Prosecutor's Office said the shed actually belongs to a local Boy Scout troop. It was being used to store property and supplies for the organization.

According to a statement from the Prosecutor's Office, investigators learned that Joyce, who is also a former Boy Scout, had set fire to the shed before returning to the firehouse.

"Once back at the firehouse, he responded with other firefighters to the shed fire, which he had just set," Gramiccioni.

Joyce was was arrested and later released after posting $5,000 bail with a 10 percent option. If convicted of aggravated arson, authorities said, he could face up to 10 years in a New Jersey State Prison, subject to the No Early Release Act, which means he would be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he would be eligible for parole.

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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