Arson, Assault Charges After Toms River Blaze Injures Firefighters

Photo courtesy Toms River Fire Company 2

TOMS RIVER – Police said that a man assaulted his wife, and set fire to his home in the early hours of Jan. 1.

  Multiple fire units arrived at the structure fire at about 5 a.m. on Jan. 1. It was located at 42 15th Street. No one was found inside, however, they did find someone sleeping in a vehicle parked in the driveway.

  Christopher Defeis, 45, had attended a party at a family member’s house. They got into an argument and he allegedly assaulted her, police said. He then poured gasoline throughout the kitchen, dining room, and family room and lit it on fire.

Christopher Defeis (Photo courtesy Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office)

  A firefighter from Toms River suffered second degree burns on his hands and forehead as a result of fighting the fire. He was treated at Ocean Medical Center in Brick.


Four other firefighters were treated for minor injuries.

  Defeis was charged with Domestic Violence Simple Assault; a Disorderly Person’s Offense, Aggravated Arson; 2nd Degree and 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.

  The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Task Force, Toms River Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Bureau of Fire Prevention, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s K-9 Unit and Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Investigation Unit contributed to the investigation.