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Pensacola Men Charged with Arson and Conspiracy


CONTACT:  Lt. Kevin Fiedor (850) 453-7803; or
Nina Banister (850) 413-2842
PENSACOLA – Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as State Fire Marshal, said two men, including one who has been convicted twice before of arson, are facing numerous felony charges after setting fire to a mobile home in January.
Detectives in the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations (BFAI), arrested William Charles Schrader, 50, on Thursday on charges of first-degree arson, burglary and conspiracy.  He faces up to 30 years in prison, in addition to fines and possible restitution, if convicted on all of the charges.  Joseph Anthony Donovan, 37, was arrested today on charges of first-degree arson and conspiracy and faces up to 25 years in prison, in addition to fines and possible restitution, if convicted on all of the charges.  Both men were booked into the Escambia County Jail. 
“Arson will not be tolerated in this state,” said CFO Sink.  “These men put the lives of innocent people at risk, including firefighters and other responders, and we will do all we can to assist prosecutors in ensuring these men get the maximum penalty under the law.”
Investigators said the two men were in Donovan’s home on Independence Avenue and, according to witnesses, began discussing ways to burn down the mobile home next door because they considered it an eyesore.  The two men then allegedly walked out toward the mobile home and moments later the home was in flames.  No injuries were reported. 
Schrader was previously arrested in September 1997 by Lt. Kevin Fiedor of the BFAI on charges of arson, burglary, and criminal mischief after burning his estranged wife’s shed.  He served four years and seven months and was released in November of 2001.   Schrader also was convicted of arson in 1979 after being charged by Holly Hill Police Department.  
The lead detective in the investigation that led to this week’s arrests is Chris Powell.
The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is a law enforcement branch of the Division of State Fire Marshal that assists other state and local fire and law enforcement agencies in the investigation of fires of suspicious origin.  Anyone with information about this case or any incident of fire is asked to call 1-877-662-7766 (1-877-NOARSON).
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.