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Two teenage girls arrested after firefighter dies from tackling blaze

by Ian Mitchelmore. Published Sun 14 Jul 2013 11:42

Police have arrested two teenage girls in connection with a blaze that claimed the life of a firefighter.

Stephen Hunt, 38, was one of 60 firemen who battled a blaze at Paul's Hair World in Manchester's Northern Quarter.

He later died in hospital and detectives confirmed that two 15 year-old girls have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said: "We are working with our colleagues from the fire service to establish how this fire, which has tragically claimed the life of a fire fighter, started.

"We have already arrested two juveniles in connection with the fire and our enquiries are continuing.

"If anyone has any information about how the fire started please get in touch."

Fellow firemen have paid tribute to Hunt who was described as a "dedicated firefighter".

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue said: "We are devastated by the death of one of our colleagues who has died in the line of duty.

"We never expect to lose a colleague in this way and it brings home the dangers that our firefighters put themselves in every day to keep the community safe.

"Stephen had been a dedicated firefighter since 2008 and we are all in a state of shock.

"It is a very sad day for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and all our thoughts are with Stephen's family and friends.

"Firefighters are clearly devastated by the loss of their colleague and I pay tribute to their professionalism, courage and dedication - while in mourning they are continuing to keep the community safe.

"I would also like to thank the Ambulance Service's HART team who battled to save Stephen."

An investigation is now underway as police and fire teams try to establish the cause of the blaze which started in the storeroom of a shop.

Crews were forced underground to tackle the flames and two members of staff at the shop had been taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary after trying to fight the fire.

One had burns to his hands, the other smoke inhalation.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.



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