Bound Brook man charged with arson in massive fire that destroyed multiple buildings

Posted: Updated:

A Bound Brook man is facing arson charges after authorities say he caused a fire that destroyed multiple buildings in the town’s downtown, displacing dozens of area residents.

Juan Hector Padilla, 28, was also charged Monday with hindering apprehension and providing false information.

The fire started in the Meridia apartment complex, which was under construction at the time. The fire quickly spread to a boarding house next door, as well as at least three other buildings across the street. This includes a second apartment complex that was also still under construction.

 
User: News 12 New Jersey To: link

Several residents were displaced because of damage to their homes from the fire and dozens more were evacuated as a precaution while demolition begins on the buildings that were destroyed.

Investigators say that Padilla was seen walking near the construction site shortly before the fire broke out late Sunday night.

RELATED: Cleanup begins after massive fire severely damages buildings in Bound Brook 
RELATED: Massive apartment fire not the first time Bound Brook has faced hardships 

“The investigation is ongoing - like any successful law enforcement investigation it was a result of collaboration but we'd ask the public, if they saw anything - or have video, iPhone video - please contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and provide that information,” says Prosecutor Michael Robertson.

The mayor of Bound Brook also announced Tuesday that the developers of both apartment complexes that were under construction say that they do play to rebuild as soon as possible.

Mayor Robert Fazen says that the community has really come together in the wake of the fire – offering to help those who are displaced. A donation drive is in the process of being organized.

Meanwhile, Padilla is being held at the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Neighbors tell News 12 New Jersey that they know of the suspect and that his social media pages are filled with disturbing rants.

"We used to see this guy walking up and down, causing a menace to the streets. Never a positive attitude," says Bound Brook resident Thomas Solter.

News 12 has not been able to independently confirm Facebook posts cited by neighbors were in fact made by Padilla.

Authorities say that additional charges against Padilla may be pending.


The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

  • Top StoriesNewsMore>>

  • Firefighters battle large 4-alarm fire at building in Bloomfield

    Firefighters battle large 4-alarm fire at building in Bloomfield

    Tuesday, January 21 2020 10:33 AM EST2020-01-21 15:33:06 GMT
    Firefighters in Bloomfield are currently on scene fighting a large four-alarm fire at a two-story building.
    Firefighters in Bloomfield are currently on scene fighting a large four-alarm fire at a two-story building.
  • Police: Waze app directs Atlantic City-bound drivers into wilderness

    Police: Waze app directs Atlantic City-bound drivers into wilderness

    Tuesday, January 21 2020 10:01 AM EST2020-01-21 15:01:21 GMT
    Police: Waze app directs Atlantic Casino-bound drivers into wildernessPolice: Waze app directs Atlantic Casino-bound drivers into wilderness
    Police: Waze app directs Atlantic Casino-bound drivers into wildernessPolice: Waze app directs Atlantic Casino-bound drivers into wilderness
    Police in Jackson Township say an ad in the Waze navigation app is misdirecting motorists headed to Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa into the wilderness of New Jersey's Pinelands.
    Police in Jackson Township say an ad in the Waze navigation app is misdirecting motorists headed to Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa into the wilderness of New Jersey's Pinelands.
  • Buckle up: What to watch as impeachment trial takes off

    Buckle up: What to watch as impeachment trial takes off

    Tuesday, January 21 2020 12:46 AM EST2020-01-21 05:46:54 GMT
    Tuesday, January 21 2020 10:27 AM EST2020-01-21 15:27:13 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, in New York. It...(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, in New York. It...
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, in New York. It...(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, in New York. It...
    Senators like to float above messy politics in what's known by some as the dignified “upper chamber," home of Congress' cooler heads and lofty rhetoric.
    Senators like to float above messy politics in what's known by some as the dignified “upper chamber," home of Congress' cooler heads and lofty rhetoric.
sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."