High Springs man arrested for setting house on fire


HIGH SPRINGS, Fla. – William Samuel Evans, 41, was arrested yesterday morning and charged with arson of a dwelling and several drug charges after allegedly setting a house on fire. The house was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

A High Springs Police Department officer responded to the fire at about 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning after a woman called 911, saying Evans had called her and told her to “take a look at the house.” The woman told the call taker that Evans “may be doing this to torture her.” She said she and Evans had been arguing prior to the fire and that Evans was hiding in the woods near the house that was on fire. The officer noted that the house did not have power and had not had power for an extended period of time. He also noted that Evans had a cell phone in his possession and did not call 911 to report the fire.

Evans came out of the woods on his own with his dog and surrendered to officers. Post Miranda, he reportedly said that he had been flicking cigarettes into a tub full of trash (newspaper, copy paper, toilet paper, etc.) “for days” and that today the papers caught on fire. He admitted that he often threw cigarette butts into the tub to see if the paper would burn and then put out the fire with water. He said it wasn’t his intention to start a fire today, but it didn’t matter to him if he started a fire. He reportedly said he fell asleep after he threw the cigarette butt in the tub, woke up to find the bathroom on fire, and fled with his dog into the woods but did not call for help.

A search incident to arrest reportedly produced a small amount of marijuana, methamphetamine, and a glass pipe.

Evans has been charged with second-degree arson, possession of a controlled substance, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, and possession of drug equipment.

Evans has seven felony convictions, with the most recent in 2015; he has served two state prison sentences and was most recently released in 2013. Drug possession charges were filed against Evans in 2021 but later dropped. Judge Susan Miller-Jones set bail at $212,000.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • Seven felony convictions and still acts with such little regard for the property of others. So much for rehabilitation. I feel bad for the poor dog. Hopefully he or she will end up with a better owner.

  • Put him in the same cell as the guy who fought over a lighter at Grace marketplace. Throw a lighter in their cell and watch the fun. Sounds like they both like to play with fire.

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