A 28-year-old Bound Brook man was charged with arson following a massive fire that tore through the downtown district Sunday night.
Juan Hector Padilla, of East Second Street, was arrested Monday and charged with second-degree arson and hindering investigation apprehension, along with providing false information, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office said.
Investigators said Padilla was seen walking near the building several times before the seven-alarm blaze broke out around 7:55 p.m., at the site of the Meridia II building on East Main Street and Mountain Avenue.
The Bound Brook Fire Department, the New Jersey State Forestry Service and 36 other fire companies from Somerset, Middlesex, Union, Hunterdon, and Mercer Counties responded.
Due to radiant heat and wind, the fire spread quickly throughout the building and to adjacent Main Street buildings, authorities said.
The origin of the fire remains under investigation. Additional charges were pending.
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