Man set ex-girlfriend’s NJ home on fire, texted photo of it to friend

HILLSBOROUGH TWP, NJ (Somerset County) – A Somerset County man allegedly set fire to his ex-girlfriend’s home and then texted a photo of the burning home to a friend, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Hillsborough Township Chief of Police Darren Powell.

Patrick M. Hammond, 34, of Somerville was charged with first-degree attempted murder and second-degree aggravated arson

On Dec. 30, at around 12:40 a.m. the Somerset County Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call from a resident on Starview Drive in Hillsborough Township reporting a fire at their residence. A resident of the home noticed that the exterior structure was on fire and alerted all of the occupants of the residence who were asleep at the time. The residence was occupied by eight residents ranging in ages from 4 to 64 years old, Robertson said.

During the course of the investigation officers gathered information that a former boyfriend, identified as Hammond, of a female resident had threatened to set fire to a truck belonging to a resident at the house, Robertson said.

Hammond had sent a photograph of the house on fire approximately two minutes after the fire was reported via text to a friend. Officers began to canvass the area in search for Hammond who was believed to be in the area, Robertson said.

At around 1:36 a.m. police located Hammond on foot in the area of East Mountain Road, approximately ¾ of a mile from the Starview Drive residence. He was subsequently taken to the Hillsborough Township Police Department where he began to act erratically and was subsequently transported to an area hospital for evaluation under police guard, Robertson said.

The Preliminary investigation showed that the fire was intentionally set near the exterior of the residence, Robertson said.

Hammond remains in an area hospital under police guard and upon release will be transported to the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Robertson stated that the quick response from all fire, police, rescue, county communications personnel, along with the quick actions of the resident in alerting everyone in the house to escape averted the loss of human life, and no injuries were reported. Unfortunately, a family pet cat perished in the fire.

Anyone with information to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, or the Hillsborough Township Police Department at (908) 369-4323 or via the STOPit app.

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook

(Photo: Patrick M. Hammond/Courtesy Somerset County Prosectuor’s Office)