Share

Mostly sunny

Wed

14°C | 4°C

Sunny spells

Thu

19°C | 5°C

Sunny spells

Fri

13°C | 4°C

Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Man speaks of desperate attempt to save tragic ex-Maidstone Grammar School pupil James Spencer found on fire in Mote Park

13 December 2013
by James Walker

James Spencer, who died after being engulfed in flames in Mote Park, Maidstone

James Spencer, who died after being engulfed in flames in Mote Park, Maidstone

A man has told how he tried in vain to save a man engulfed in a blaze in a Maidstone town centre park - as the victim is pictured for the first time.

Good samaritan John Davis-Ashdown battled against 15ft flames to try to save 30-year-old James Spencer in Mote Park

The 48-year-old believes former Maidstone Grammar School pupil Mr Spencer might have deliberately taken his own life.

He died in hospital the day after the tragedy last Wednesday.

Mr Davis-Ashdown was walking with his sister near the playground at 4.30pm when they heard a "swoosh" sound about 300 feet away.

They at first thought someone had lit a bonfire, but then realised there was someone in the middle of the inferno. He ran to Mr Spencer's aid and tried to wrap him in his jacket.

Mr Davis-Ashdown said: "It's something that I am never going to forget for as long as I live. What happened is absolutely horrific. Nearby there was an empty petrol can.

"Despite the fact he must have been in considerable pain he was just lying there and didn't make a lot of noise.

"After the fire was out I tried to speak to him. He was still conscious and told me his name and age but his voice gradually became weaker.

"I told him to stay awake, we could hear the sirens coming, but he was drifting away.

"While I was trying to save his life there were at least half a dozen people in the surrounding area who did nothing to try and help. That makes me so angry."

Emergency services were called to Mote Park after James Spencer was discovered alight

Emergency services were called to Mote Park after James Spencer was discovered alight

Although he was the only person who battled the flames, two schoolboys aged 12 and 13 also gave their support - with one offering a shirt.

Teisha Maytum and Debbie King, who both work in the Cafe at the Park, also tried to lend a hand by fetching jugs of water, but by the time they returned the fire was out.

"I'm not comfortable with being called a hero, nor being called brave..." - John Davis-Ashdown

Despite his efforts, Mr Davis-Ashdown insists he is not a hero. "I'm not comfortable with being called a hero, nor being called brave," he said.

"Perhaps if I had saved the poor man it would be different, but someone has lost their life. It's not about me.

"There's no words to describe what happened. My thoughts and prayers are very much with his family."

Mr Spencer died in Chelmsford's Broomfield Hospital the day after the fire, having initially been taken to King's College Hospital in London.

Click here for more news from Maidstone.

Click here for more news from around the county.

Comments 
Sorry, comments are not enabled for this article.

Login or register to post commentsPost Comment

Forgotten Password?

Forgotten Username?

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

The KM Group does not moderate comments.
Please click here for our house rules.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments
We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules.. If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here, email multimediadesk@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01634 227989.