Mandurah family’s lucky escape after house fire

Mark Daniels with
Mark Daniels with "Jack". Picture: Jon Hewson. d433555

A MANDURAH family were lucky to escape with their lives after a man allegedly forced his way into their home with a petrol can and set it alight.

Police allege the man entered the Thomson Street house just after 2.15am on February 17 and threw petrol around before igniting it.

Police responded to a 000 phone call and arrested a man nearby.

Mark Daniels and his family had been living in the house for only six months when the attack occurred.

“We have never had any trouble before this,” he said.

“What we have worked for has gone up in flames, all our photos are destroyed.”

Mr Daniels said it began when he woke to voices outside his bedroom window at 1.55am.

“I heard two guys chatting outside; I thought it was my son and his mate,” he said.

“I got up and went to the kitchen then saw my son and his friend and asked if they were just outside, but they hadn’t gone anywhere.

“So I said ‘be quiet and let’s just listen’.”

Mr Daniels claims one of the men started banging on the door, yelled out and started kicking the door.

“The three of us had our backs to the door and the kicks were so powerful the three of us were pushed into the wall,” he said.

“I could see petrol seeping in down the bottom of the door and on to the carpet.

“I saw a spark and then told the kids to run, and they ran out the back door and jumped into the neighbour’s yard. I stayed because I wanted to face him and protect my family.”

Mr Daniels claimed a man ran through the house with a petrol can, ran out the back and tripped over the fishpond.

“The whole time he was screaming and screaming, then he jumped the other neighbour’s fence,” Mr Daniels said. Police arrested a man nearby. Mr Daniels said the incident left him weak.

“The police were calling to me. I couldn’t get back over the fence as my legs were weak and I was vomiting, I was in shock,” he said.

“It was pretty scary; you only see these things at the movies.”

Mr Daniels said neither he nor his family knew the man, who has been charged with aggravated burglary, criminal damage by fire and endangering life, health or safety of people.

Mr Daniels’ daughter Chloe lost her pet weiro in the blaze.

“She has had that bird for seven to eight years,” he said.

“Our family pink and grey followed us out. Luckily he seems to be OK apart from some singed feathers.”

Mr Daniels said he just wanted to thank the community.

“We have been offered a lot of things, people have been absolutely brilliant,” he said.

Firefighters contained the fire by 2.59am and extinguished it at 3.14am.

A Department of Fire and Emergency Services spokesman estimated damage to the house at about $150,000.

Aaron Charles Moody (26), of Silver Sands, was taken to Rockingham Hospital where he was later charged with aggravated burglary, criminal damage by fire and endangering life, health or safety.

He appeared in the Mandurah Magistrates Court on February 20 and did not enter a plea or ask for bail.

He was remanded in custody to re-appear at Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court on March 11.