SALEM — The former chief of a South Jersey fire company who helped a property owner burn down an abandoned home and masked the arson as a training exercise is now headed to prison.

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Patrick Foster, of Quinton Township, Salem County, was sentenced Tuesday to 364 days in the Salem County jail and two years probation.

The 47-year-old pleaded guilty in December to arson and hindering apprehension or prosecution. He also resigned from the fire department and is barred from holding any public position or employment.

State authorities say Foster sent fire company members to the abandoned house in December 2010 and had them douse the second floor with gasoline before setting it on fire. Foster admitted doing this to gain assistance from the property owner’s son, who was the township’s housing official.

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