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Cops: Toms River Man Burnt Down House After New Year’s Eve Party Fight

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Christopher Defeis (Photo: Ocean County Jail)
Christopher Defeis (Photo: Ocean County Jail)

A Toms River man has been charged with arson and domestic violence offenses after burning down his home following a fight with his wife at a New Year’s Eve party.

Christopher Defeis, 45, was found sleeping in a vehicle parked in the driveway of the home at 42 15th St., by firefighters responding to a blaze at about 5 a.m. New Year’s Day.

According to a statement from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office issued Wednesday afternoon, local and county investigators determined that the fire had “multiple points of origin and was ignited by a person or persons using an open flame to an ignitable liquid.”

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The ensuing investigation, according to the prosecutor’s office, found Defeis and his wife had attended a party at a family member’s residence earlier that evening. Defeis, the statement said, got into an argument with his wife and assaulted her. He then left the family member’s residence and returned home. The investigation further revealed that Defeis allegedly poured gasoline throughout the kitchen, dining room and family room areas of the residence. Detectives believe he then ignited the gasoline and exited the residence returning to the vehicle parked in the driveway.

During the course of the fire suppression one firefighter from Toms River suffered second degree burns to his hands and forehead and was transported to Ocean Medical Center, Brick.

Defeis was placed under arrest and charged with domestic violence(simple assault), aggravated arson, aggravated assault, and causing or creating an injury to a firefighter. He was then transported to the Ocean County Jail where he was lodged pending a detention hearing.