A lovestruck German has burned down his house after the candles he lit for his girlfriend sparked a fire.

The unnamed man had laid out hundreds of candles in the shape of a heart carrying the words "You set my heart on fire."

The 18-year-old had hoped the gesture would impress his girlfriend. Instead the heat was so intense it melted the candle wax onto the floor where it ignited.

Ten firefighters tacked the resulting blaze for an hour before getting it under control. No one was hurt, but emergency services said damage to the property came to about R430 000.

The heartbroken young man told police: "My girlfriend didn't even see the message, all I have left of it is a photograph - and she was not in the mood to look at that when she realised what had happened." - Ananova.com