A ROW between a married couple ended with the husband trying to burn down their family home.
Paul Davis has been jailed for two years and nine months after he poured petrol around their home and set it alight.
The alarm was raised by passers-by who saw smoke pouring out of the semi-detached house in Washbrook Road, Wymering, Portsmouth.
Firefighters risked their lives to rescue the 47-year-old who they found unconscious on the living room floor.
They then had to go back into the burning building to see if there was anyone else trapped inside.
Davis was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital and discharged a short time later.
Fire investigators found three spots where the fire had been started; behind the front door, in the lounge and under the stairs by the gas meter, causing £10,000 worth of damage.
Davis told police that on the day of the fire he had had an argument with his wife that morning about his drinking.
He went to the pub at 9am and after spending six hours drinking he returned to an empty house and decided to start the fire in August last year.
Judge Ian Pearson said: ‘Sadly it’s alcohol, or alcohol abuse which has brought you to the position you are in.
‘You were obviously very drunk that day and you acted out of character. But what you did was very serious.
‘It was a semi-detached house – the fire could easily have spread.’
The judge at Portsmouth Crown Court said that if the fire had spread to the gas meter it could have caused an explosion.
‘You put yourself at risk and put firefighters at risk,’ Judge Pearson said. ‘Offences of this nature do require an element of deterrent.’
Davis admitted arson recklessly endangering life.
Gareth Morgan, defending, said Davis was trying to tackle his drink problem and he and his wife were now back together.
‘Alcohol lies very much at the root of this offence,’ he said. ‘It is alcohol which led to the breakdown of his relationship with his wife, alcohol which is the factor that led to the start of the fire.
‘The defendant intended very much to cause himself harm, although he accepts that he did not give thought to the potential to harm others.’