Published: 09:50, 11 August 2014
A romantic gesture went horribly wrong when a candle-lit love heart almost burnt down a couple's Chatham home.
Amanj Yassen had not seen his girlfriend Jana Stankeviciute for a month while she was on holiday in Latvia and he was desperate to show her how much he had missed her.
He spent hours transforming their bedroom into a love den for when she arrived home - with flowers, champagne and candles.
The 29-year-old arranged about 100 tealights in the shape of a heart with an arrow through it and spelt out his girlfriend's name.
As Jana, 25, called to say she was nearing their home in the early hours of Saturday, Amanj lit the candles and waited downstairs for his sweetheart.
However, after Amanj shut the door, the candles set the carpet alight and the flames quickly spread - destroying almost everything inside the room.
He said: "I was just trying to do something lovely and it went very, very wrong.
"I spent ages making the room nice, doing the heart shape out of the candles, so it would be perfect for when she arrived.
"She called me to say she was about 30 minutes away and so I went up and lit them."
Amanj said he heard a loud bang coming from the bedroom and went to investigate.
"I opened the bedroom door and the room was full of smoke," he said. "My friend was here and we tried to fight the flames with water, but the smoke was too strong.
"We were overcome by it and had to run out of the house and I dialled 999."
Firefighters were on the scene in Chatham Hill within minutes and used breathing apparatus to enter the bedroom.
It was at this point Jana arrived home to find her house on fire.
Amanj said: "She called me to come out to help her with her luggage, but I said I was already outside as something big had happened.
"I can't believe how much damage has been caused. I only have the clothes I've got on left.
"The bed has gone, the window was blown out and there is a lot of cleaning up and repairs to do.
"I would not want anyone else to make the same mistake and go through this."
After her initial shock, Jana has forgiven her partner. She said: "I cried and I was very shocked, but I still love him of course."
A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "The tealights caught the carpet alight.
"The bed and about 70% of the room has been destroyed by the flames.
"Our advice is never to use tealights without putting them in holders."
The spokesman added: "We also advise that people should never attempt to try and put fires out themselves.
"The message is get out of the property immediately and call us for help."
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