Pigeon owner’s sadness after fire

Raymond Jones next to the burnt out aviary''Picture: Paul Jacobs (131246-1)
Raymond Jones next to the burnt out aviary''Picture: Paul Jacobs (131246-1)
Tributes left outside Fareham Academy.

Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180012-4)

Tributes paid to ‘outstanding’ PE teacher who died suddenly over Christmas

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A pigeon enthusiast has told of his shock after his birds died in a fire.

Raymond Jones, 63, had been burning rubbish in his garden at his home in Ludlow Grove in Paulsgrove when the bonfire flames set fire to his aviary, home to 40 pigeons.

He kept the birds to race them and the most expensive one cost £500.

He said it was a shock when the fire spread.

‘I was burning some rubbish and it just caught the shed out there.

‘I tried to put it out and then the fire brigade came.

‘It all happened very quickly.

‘I’m downhearted about it really.

‘It’s terrible. I have had the aviary out there for about 10 years now.’

Mr Jones has been racing pigeons as a hobby for the past seven years.

‘I will try and get some more birds. I’m still choked up about it now’ he said.

Mr Jones estimates that the birds collectively would have been worth thousands of pounds.

Firefighters spent two hours at the fire, from 10.30pm on Monday, tackling the fire which claimed the lives of 34 of the birds.

Only six pigeons survived.

The aviary is being taken away and the birds have temporarily been housed in a cage in the garden.

Firefighters from Cosham and Southsea attended and left the scene at around 12.30am.

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, added: ‘It was quite frightening.

‘I smelled smoke and then I just saw huge flames going up into the air.

‘They were incredibly high and I was very worried.’