Local Firefighter Charged With Arson

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 9:38 AM

By Jefferson Co. Sheriff's Department & Hanover Fire Department

Had been with the department for approximately 4 years

 On October 12, 2018 at approximately 10:17 PM, Jefferson County Central Dispatch received a call of a house fire located at 2263 S SR 62 Hanover, Indiana.  The 911 caller reported that the house was fully engulfed.  Fire units from Hanover Fire Department and Kent Fire Department responded to the fire scene.  Additional Fire fighters were requested from Lexington Fire Department in Scott County as well as a Tanker truck to help battle the fire.  Fire personnel remained on scene until approximately 1:35 AM on October 13, 2018.  The home was currently unoccupied.  Fire Investigators from the Hanover Fire Department started their investigation into the cause of the fire.  They ultimately determined that the fire was intentionally started.  Their investigation was turned over to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department on Friday November 30, 2018.  Det. Yancy Denning then followed up on the investigation. 

On Monday, December 3, 2018 Det. Denning interviewed 23 year old William Andrew Desch at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.  William Andrew Desch has been a firefighter with the Hanover Fire Department for approximately 4 years.  During the interview William Andrew Desch admitted to intentionally setting the house on fire on October 12, 2018.  William Andrew Desch went on to say he went back to the residence two more times after the initial fire and started two other fires.  Those fires did not spread throughout the residence and fire personnel were not notified to respond.  Willian Andrew Desch was charged with three counts of level 4 felony arson and 2 counts of level 4 felony counts of burglary.  He is currently incarcerated in the Jefferson County Jail awaiting his initial hearing.  The Hanover Fire Department was extremely cooperative during the course of the investigation.

William Andrew Desch is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law,


A statement from the Hanover Fire Department:

The Hanover Township Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. (HFD) was founded on principles of morality, truth and honor.  HFD prides itself on a long history of being a steadfast hand for our community in times of need.  HFD requires that its members hold the same values as the department.

 When a fire fighter commits an act of arson, everything that the firefighter was sworn to protect is endangered.  It was recently brought to the attention of HFD that one of its members, William Andrew Desch, was allegedly setting fires.  This fire fighter has destroyed the very mission in which he was tasked.  It was the decision of HFD to place Mr. Desch on immediate suspension.  The suspension will continue without change until further notice.

 Actions like those alleged of Mr. Desch will not be tolerated by HFD.  HFD is fully cooperating with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office, and will continue to do so.  HFD is currently reviewing its policies and guidelines, and will make the necessary changes to eliminate the possibility of future incidents.

 The HFD is committed to providing quality and professional public service.  HFD would like to reassure the community that HFD is diligent in its promise.  “Hanover Fire Department finds the allegations against Mr. Desch to be very reprehensible,” said Cory Thomas, Public Information Officer, “These actions do not represent Hanover Fire Department.  We are committed to our mission of serving the community with respect, honor and dignity.” The Hanover Township Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. has no further comments at this time.

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