Animal carer Darren Hunt lucky to live after arson attack

Darren Hunt recovering after the fire

Darren Hunt recovering after the fire

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

AN ANIMAL carer is offering a £5,000 reward in a desperate bid to find the arsonists who tried to torch his home.

Darren Hunt, 43, said he feels lucky to be alive after the attack on his Weymouth home, which is also a rescue centre for hundreds of injured animals.

Fire investigators are now probing the blaze, which originated from a mobility scooter that was parked outside Mr Hunt’s home in Pirates Lane in Wyke Regis on Wednesday night.

Mr Hunt prevented an explosion by moving the mobility scooter away from a nearby gas canister.

Now, fearing for his life, he is issuing a plea for information and is offering a £5,000 reward.

Mr Hunt, locally known as The Birdman of Wyke Regis, posted a picture of his fire-damaged home on social networking site Facebook.

He said: “I was lucky – I had been planning to have an early night.

“If I’d been inside the barn, I wouldn’t have noticed and I’d be dead right now.

“It would have gone off like a bomb. Thank God the animals are okay.”

Mr Hunt was outside tending to a poorly pig when he heard his burglar alarm go off.

He said: “When I went to investigate, there was someone in the field.

“He had squirted something – I guess petrol – on the scooter, which was parked between the barn and my car, and set fire to it.

“I chased him but I thought ‘if I don’t put out the fire, the gas cylinder will go up and we’ll all be killed’.

“I ran back, picked up the scooter and just threw it as far I could because I had to get it away from the gas.”

Mr Hunt extinguished the blaze before firefighters arrived, resulting in him pulling the muscles in his arm, which he now has in a sling.

The mobility scooter was destroyed in the fire and the side of Mr Hunt’s car was also damaged.

The pen of his 22-year-old owl, Nina, was filled with smoke but luckily the bird was unharmed.

Mr Hunt runs the animal rescue centre on behalf of his parents after he suffered serious injuries in a car crash in 2001.

It is home to chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, goats, sheep, dogs and birds of prey, some of which will be released back into the wild.

Mr Hunt, who is currently the subject of a council planning investigation after building his home inside the barn without permission, said he is still in shock from the incident and it has left him fearing reprise attacks.

He added: “I didn’t get any sleep last night and I doubt I’ll be able to sleep tonight, either.”

Call police if you can help

A DORSET Police spokesman said: “We had a report that a person set fire to a mobility scooter and caused damage to another vehicle at around 9.20pm on Wednesday night.”

A spokesman for Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said the fire is believed to have been deliberate.

She added: “On arrival, firefighters were met by the property owner and the blaze had been extinguished.

“We are following all the usual investigative procedures, including checking CCTV and crime scene investigation.”

Anyone with information should call the police on 101.

Comments (9)

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1:08pm Fri 31 Aug 12

TenBobDylanThomasHardy says...

http://www.pcs.plann
ingportal.gov.uk/pcs
portal/ViewCase.asp?
caseid=2150280&coid=
16904
http://www.pcs.plann ingportal.gov.uk/pcs portal/ViewCase.asp? caseid=2150280&coid= 16904 TenBobDylanThomasHardy
  • Score: 0

2:38pm Fri 31 Aug 12

PortlandYoof says...

So, someone narrowly escapes being burnt alive by an arsonist, and the best you can do is post a link to an ongoing planning feud between the poor bugger and the council?

Grow up, you insensitive, gutless creature!

Best of luck with a swift recovery Darren - Hope they find out who did this, could have ended very badly!
So, someone narrowly escapes being burnt alive by an arsonist, and the best you can do is post a link to an ongoing planning feud between the poor bugger and the council? Grow up, you insensitive, gutless creature! Best of luck with a swift recovery Darren - Hope they find out who did this, could have ended very badly! PortlandYoof
  • Score: -1

4:16pm Fri 31 Aug 12

Duckorange says...

PortlandYoof wrote:
So, someone narrowly escapes being burnt alive by an arsonist, and the best you can do is post a link to an ongoing planning feud between the poor bugger and the council?

Grow up, you insensitive, gutless creature!

Best of luck with a swift recovery Darren - Hope they find out who did this, could have ended very badly!
On the other hand, it gives context to a point raised in the story. All the best with your recovery, Darren, hope it all works out in the end.
[quote][p][bold]PortlandYoof[/bold] wrote: So, someone narrowly escapes being burnt alive by an arsonist, and the best you can do is post a link to an ongoing planning feud between the poor bugger and the council? Grow up, you insensitive, gutless creature! Best of luck with a swift recovery Darren - Hope they find out who did this, could have ended very badly![/p][/quote]On the other hand, it gives context to a point raised in the story. All the best with your recovery, Darren, hope it all works out in the end. Duckorange
  • Score: 0

5:33pm Fri 31 Aug 12

Bert Fry says...

Duckorange wrote:
PortlandYoof wrote: So, someone narrowly escapes being burnt alive by an arsonist, and the best you can do is post a link to an ongoing planning feud between the poor bugger and the council? Grow up, you insensitive, gutless creature! Best of luck with a swift recovery Darren - Hope they find out who did this, could have ended very badly!
On the other hand, it gives context to a point raised in the story. All the best with your recovery, Darren, hope it all works out in the end.
What, he has a planning feud with the council therefore that must be the reason for an arson attack?
If that's the case then maybe the council should top the list of suspects, or maybe just those who have raised an objection.
[quote][p][bold]Duckorange[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]PortlandYoof[/bold] wrote: So, someone narrowly escapes being burnt alive by an arsonist, and the best you can do is post a link to an ongoing planning feud between the poor bugger and the council? Grow up, you insensitive, gutless creature! Best of luck with a swift recovery Darren - Hope they find out who did this, could have ended very badly![/p][/quote]On the other hand, it gives context to a point raised in the story. All the best with your recovery, Darren, hope it all works out in the end.[/p][/quote]What, he has a planning feud with the council therefore that must be the reason for an arson attack? If that's the case then maybe the council should top the list of suspects, or maybe just those who have raised an objection. Bert Fry
  • Score: 0

7:00pm Fri 31 Aug 12

Harpya Orkinus says...

I've always been under the impression that arson carries a life sentence - and if I were a judge trying this sh*t-fer-brains perp, that's EXACTLY what he'd get..
I've always been under the impression that arson carries a life sentence - and if I were a judge trying this sh*t-fer-brains perp, that's EXACTLY what he'd get.. Harpya Orkinus
  • Score: -1

8:34am Sun 2 Sep 12

FooWoo says...

Chavs I suspect. Personally I think the police should count this as atempted murder and charge the scum accordingly.

Send the message out to the idiots that any fire lit with intent on destroying property will be treated as attempted murder and they will go to prison and will be found. I suspect that is in the publics interest.

I have been watching the news about the increasing arson in weymouth and commented a while ago that I thought it would get worse. Got to remember you are dealing with groups of creatures who will egg each other on to do worse than the last person to look better than them.
Chavs I suspect. Personally I think the police should count this as atempted murder and charge the scum accordingly. Send the message out to the idiots that any fire lit with intent on destroying property will be treated as attempted murder and they will go to prison and will be found. I suspect that is in the publics interest. I have been watching the news about the increasing arson in weymouth and commented a while ago that I thought it would get worse. Got to remember you are dealing with groups of creatures who will egg each other on to do worse than the last person to look better than them. FooWoo
  • Score: 0

4:49pm Sun 2 Sep 12

TenBobDylanThomasHardy says...

If you follow the link you'll find that the Planning Inquiry is not 'ongoing' it was completed last week. As Duckoragne suggest, it may add a great deal of context to the story.
If you follow the link you'll find that the Planning Inquiry is not 'ongoing' it was completed last week. As Duckoragne suggest, it may add a great deal of context to the story. TenBobDylanThomasHardy
  • Score: 0

12:47pm Thu 6 Sep 12

PortlandYoof says...

TenBobDylanThomasHar
dy
wrote:
If you follow the link you'll find that the Planning Inquiry is not 'ongoing' it was completed last week. As Duckoragne suggest, it may add a great deal of context to the story.
Perhaps.. but on the other hand, it may offer an unnecessary 'slant' on the story. Don't assume the worst, as it's hardly fair given the circumstances.

As an interesting slant, after reading the planning application - It appears Darren has had problems with abuse from a neighbour - Again, maybe this could be something to look at... See, I'm speculating now.. it's not really fair.
[quote][p][bold]TenBobDylanThomasHar dy[/bold] wrote: If you follow the link you'll find that the Planning Inquiry is not 'ongoing' it was completed last week. As Duckoragne suggest, it may add a great deal of context to the story.[/p][/quote]Perhaps.. but on the other hand, it may offer an unnecessary 'slant' on the story. Don't assume the worst, as it's hardly fair given the circumstances. As an interesting slant, after reading the planning application - It appears Darren has had problems with abuse from a neighbour - Again, maybe this could be something to look at... See, I'm speculating now.. it's not really fair. PortlandYoof
  • Score: 0

4:56pm Thu 6 Sep 12

Iona says...

There's a lot of arson about: lets hope the police aren't arsin' about too, and they get on with detecting these dangerous morons.
.
There is another fire reported today in the Echo. Somebody, other than the perpetrators, knows who has done one or other of these fires. They need to tell the police before somebody is murdered.
There's a lot of arson about: lets hope the police aren't arsin' about too, and they get on with detecting these dangerous morons. . There is another fire reported today in the Echo. Somebody, other than the perpetrators, knows who has done one or other of these fires. They need to tell the police before somebody is murdered. Iona
  • Score: 0

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