HARRISON TWP. — A Washington Township man already charged with setting a fire in a vacant Harrison Township house on Oct, 16 now faces the additional charge of setting a fire that caused injury to a firefighter.
Michael T. Keating, 30, appeared at a bail hearing Friday, Oct. 24 and was served with the additional charge, authorities said.
Keating, a furloughed employee of the federal Internal Revenue Service, was initially charged with aggravated assault and burglary when he was arrested at his home the night of the fire.
On Friday, Assistant Gloucester County Prosecutor Joseph More said a Pitman firefighter suffered a puncture wound to his hand from broken glass at the fire at 612 Mullica Hill Road, said authorities. The new charge makes Keating subject to sentencing under the state’s No Early Release Act, requiring 85 percent of a sentence to be served before parole eligibility, More said.
At the time of his arrest, Keating allegedly acknowledged being at the Harrison Township house, but denied setting the fire. Four witnesses driving past the house reported seeing a motorcycle leaving the house and the license plate number they provided led to Keating, said More.
A stool taken from the house, and two cigarette lighters, were seized at Keating’s home, More said.
Superior Court Judge Robert P. Becker noted that, while the charges are serious and the potential for penalties is significant, Keating has no prior indictable offenses and may have “psychological issues.” Becker reset bail at $50,000 and ordered Keating to undergo a psychological evaluation and follow up with treatment if released on bail.