Published: 00:01, 20 May 2018
The desperate efforts to save a father who died when a fire engulfed his home after a drinking session were revealed at an inquest.
But the exact cause of the blaze, which took the life of Kaspars Ajuts, is still unknown, beyond a theory it was a human act.
He was pronounced dead on the doorstep of his home after being dragged from the burning house by firefighters.
Neighbour Karen Hickman had dialled 999 and witnessed the tragic aftermath.
The blaze took hold in the terraced home in Marsham Street, Maidstone, in the early evening in February 2017.
Mr Ajuts’ wife, Ivrta and son Peteris escaped the flames along with a family friend Aigars Skuditis but the father did not wake up and was in bed when fire crews arrived.
A forensic investigator concluded the blaze, which started in the son’s bedroom, was caused by a 'human act'.
Despite considering it could have been started by a dropped cigarette, he said there was no hard evidence it was the source.
The 48-year-old’s death was determined to be inhalation of fire fumes and an enlarged heart.
A post mortem examination revealed 26-stone Mr Ajuts was in poor health and had a potentially lethal blood alcohol level of 349mg per 100ml.
The pathologist said intoxication was only a contributing factor in his death as, being a heavy drinker, Mr Ajuts would have developed a tolerance.
The four consumed at least 10 bottles of wine between them and went to bed in the afternoon after finishing all the alcohol in the house.
The court heard how Mr Skuditis, who sat downstairs, heard a smoke alarm and rushed to the first floor to wake Peteris who was asleep on a burning mattress while flames climbed the curtains.
Mr Skuditis ran to the attic bedroom to wake Mr Ajuts and his wife.
Mr Ajuts did not wake up and, in a panic, the Mr Skuditis and Mr Ajuts’ wife ran downstairs and tried to extinguish the flames with a bucket of water.
His son tried to rescue his father from the attic but was stopped by the flames.
He escaped with burns to his arms and face.
Assistant coroner Georgina Gibbs said: “I would like to express my condolences to the family.
“You lost Mr Ajuts in the most dreadful circumstances.”