Arsonist who set fire that destroyed 5 Bridgewater businesses granted day parole

·2 min read

The man responsible for a devastating fire in downtown Bridgewater, N.S., three years ago is being released on six months of day parole.

Adrian Thomas Hunt was sentenced to five years for arson with disregard for human life. The fire he set in October 2017 destroyed five businesses and some apartments.

One woman who lost her home and three cats in the fire later filed a victim impact statement saying Hunt not only cost her her home and pets but also her sense of security.

Police circulated security video shortly after the fire showing a man entering the buildings before they burst into flames. Witnesses quickly identified Hunt as the man in the video.

When asked why he did it, Hunt initially denied responsibility, then said he couldn't remember. He later told correctional officials that he was "black-out drunk" at the time. He also denied suggestions the fire might have been set to pay off a drug debt. He described the fire as a stupid mistake.

Paul Palmeter/CBC
Paul Palmeter/CBC

In its decision, a panel of the Parole Board of Canada said it did not entirely accept Hunt's assertion that he doesn't remember, saying that "there may have been bigger issues at play and that you may have set the fire at the behest of another party."

The board said Hunt needs the structure of a halfway house to help ensure he is ready for life outside prison.

He had requested full parole and suggested he live in a trailer on a friend's property. But the board said that would not provide sufficient safeguards to ensure Hunt would not resume excessive drinking or drug abuse.

As a condition of his day parole, Hunt must abstain from drugs and alcohol. He's also to stay away from any of his victims. Hunt told the board that would not be a problem because he doesn't know who they are and wouldn't recognize them if he saw them.