A man who destroyed his flat trying to set the scene for a romantic proposal said he “never imagined” it would catch fire.
Albert Ndreu, 26, of Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, filled the living room with hundreds of tea lights, candles and balloons on Monday evening.
He then went to collect his girlfriend but returned to find the flat ablaze.
Mr Ndreu still proposed and his girlfriend accepted, but said he was “banned” from candles for awhile.
“I was planning the proposal for over two weeks – I kept struggling to find the right thing to do to mark the special moment,” Mr Ndreu told the South West News Service.
The waiter spent hours setting the scene, which included spelling out the words “Marry Me?” in tea lights.
“I was so worried about everything going wrong, I never imagined I could set the house on fire,” he said.
He met his girlfriend Valerija Madevic online about a year ago.
“We got on like a house on fire, but maybe we took that a bit too literally,” he said.
Ms Madevic said when he had turned up at her work with some flowers she initially thought he was apologising for something.
“Little did I know he had destroyed our entire living room,” she said.
“We walked up the stairs to the flat and there was smoke everywhere. I was in total shock.”
However Mr Ndreu was still ready to propose and got down on one knee.
“He pulled out a box from his pocket and I was just speechless,” Miss Madevic said.
The couple are staying with relatives until they can return to the studio flat and hope to marry on the anniversary of the blaze next year.
“You can replace things in the house, but not our love for each other,” Miss Madevic said.
“But Albert is banned from candles and balloons for a while, even with his birthday coming up.”