News Department

Woman charged with attempted murder in Hunterdon County house fire

RARITAN TOWNSHIP, NJ (Hunterdon County) – A woman is accused of intentionally setting fire to the second floor of a Hunterdon County home earlier this week, according to Hunterdon County Prosecutor Renée M. Robeson

Laura Duran, 47, from Raritan Township was charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated arson, second-degree aggravated arson, two counts of third-degree arson, and third-degree criminal mischief.

The blaze broke out on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at around 10:45 p.m. at 127 River Road in Raritan Township, police said.

Upon the arrival of Raritan Township police, two individuals were located on the roof of the structure, which was a two-family residence, yelling for help. The fire appeared to be coming from the second floor of the residence, police said.

Utilizing their patrol vehicle, officers were able to safely assist the two adult residents off of the roof, police said.

There were four total residents that were safely able to exit the home, police said.

The fire department extinguished the fire and there were no reported injuries by residents or emergency personnel, police said.

Investigators determined that the fire originated in the second-floor apartment of the structure and that it was started intentionally. Investigators further determined that Duran, an occupant of the second-floor apartment, purposely or knowingly started the fire, which caused significant structural damage to the residence and placed the occupants in danger of death, Robeson said.

“Aggravated arson is more than a crime against property — it is a crime against the person and, in this case, a personal invasion that endangered the lives, safety, and dignity of the victims in their own home. The joint investigation by my office, the Raritan Township Police Department, and the Raritan Township Fire Marshal represents the model coordinated approach to public safety that Hunterdon County deserves,” Robeson said.

Duran is being held at the Warren County Correctional Center pending her first court appearance on Sept. 30, Robeson said.

First-degree charges may result in criminal penalties including, but not limited to, a term of imprisonment between ten and twenty years and a fine not to exceed $200,000.00. Second-degree charges may result in criminal penalties including, but not limited to, a term of imprisonment between five and ten years and a fine not to exceed $150,000.00. Third-degree charges may result in criminal penalties including, but not limited to, a term of imprisonment between three and five years and a fine not to exceed$15,000.00.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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