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Mother Sentenced for Starting Fatal Fire

Joseph Pleasant; Public Information Officer

Antioch fire in August 2017 killed three-year-old daughter

Ehitayehu Dessie, 33, will serve 17 years in prison at 100 percent after pleading guilty to second degree murder, first degree attempted murder with serious bodily injury and 12 counts of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, on Thursday January 24, 2019.

Nashville Fire Department personnel responded to a two-alarm apartment fire at 505 Piccadilly on August 7, 2017 just before 4:00am. On the scene witnesses told firefighters a child was still in the apartment where the fire started. Firefighters performed a search and located Dessie’s daughter in a back bedroom. Firefighters rescued the child however the three-year-old girl died.

The fire also injured Dessie’s husband and displaced 22 people from six apartments.

NFD arson investigators determined Dessie started the fire and worked with the Davidson County District Attorney’s office to bring Dessie to justice for this horrific act.

“I am proud of the seven courageous men who know their craft so well and have such an outstanding percentage of convictions because of this knowledge,” NFD Fire Marshal Al Thomas said. “Due to the diligent and hard work of the Nashville Fire Department Arson Investigators, justice has been served for three-year-old Elizabeth Dessie.”

According to the District Attorney’s office Dessie will likely face immediate deportation after she serves her 17 year sentence in prison.

Remember you can help stop arson in our community. Help us “Burn an Arsonist” by reporting information about suspicious fires to the Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. It is answered 24 hours a day and you can remain anonymous. Cash awards are offered for information leading to an arrest or conviction.

Ehitayehu Dessie Convicted for Fatal Arson