Parole board revokes convicted arsonist’s conditional release


  • <p>FILE PHOTO</p><p>A section of Bridgewater&#8217;s downtown core went up in flames on October 22, 2017.</p>

Three-and-a-half months into his day parole, the Queens County man who started an inferno devastating a section of Bridgewater's downtown in October 2017 is back behind bars.

Adrian Thomas Hunt "made a series of poor decisions," the Parole Board of Canada noted in a written decision, which led to his being returned to prison in April.

The board held a hearing earlier this month and released a decision on July 14.

Hunt was living in a halfway house and had a full-time job but repeatedly skipped work without authorization. The 28-year-old was also found to be using cocaine and meeting up with women for casual sex and substance abuse.

"This shows a lack of commitment and motivation to your correctional plan but it also shows a lack of respect for the conditions imposed on day parole," reads the board's decision, in part. "The board believes your decisions were intentional, despite knowing the expectations."

"You were deceiving many people as you delved further and further into a high-risk lifestyle," the four-page report went on. "In the final analysis, your behaviour on release increased your risk of reoffending."

The Greenfield resident was nearly two years into a five-year prison sentence for arson - disregard for human life when he was granted six months of day parole but denied full parole. He was subject to a number of conditions, including abstaining from drugs.

Back on the night of October 22, 2017, Hunt went inside a King Street business and set pieces of paper on fire and tossed them around inside. He left the site shortly before smoke started billowing out of the building.

Bridgewater volunteer firefighters were summoned at around 10:30 p.m., but the severity of the incident required about a dozen fire departments, including ones from as far away as Chester and Liverpool.

The fire spread to multiple buildings, including three residential apartments and seven businesses - all of which were destroyed. A neighbouring restaurant was also damaged. A resident of one of the apartments, who was home at the time of blaze, lost three cats.

Insurance claimed by the properties' owners amounted to more than $1.4 million, and the Town of Bridgewater tallied losses over $11,000 in value.

Hunt was arrested in January 2018, after several tipsters identified him in a video surveillance clip the police shared with the public. After initially denying any involvement, Hunt admitted to starting the fire but wouldn't say why. He again declined to reveal his reasons when a provincial court judge asked him the same question during sentencing in February 2019. Hunt pleaded guilty in November 2018.

As outlined in a previous board decision, Hunt claimed to have been "blackout drunk" due to the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of the incident.

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