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Two teenage girls arrested in connection with death of Manchester firefighter

“It is an absolute tragedy and we are heartbroken” – Stephen Hunt, 38, lost his life in the blaze at Paul’s Hair World in Oldham Street.

Firefighters at the scene of a fire at Paul's Hair World in Oldham Street, Manchester, where firefighter Stephen Hunt, 38, was killed whilst tackling the blaze at the city centre shop.
Firefighters at the scene of a fire at Paul's Hair World in Oldham Street, Manchester, where firefighter Stephen Hunt, 38, was killed whilst tackling the blaze at the city centre shop.
Image: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

TWO TEENAGE GIRLS have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter following the death of a firefighter in Manchester.

Stephen Hunt, who has been a firefighter for the past six years, lost his life in the blaze at Paul’s Hair World on Oldham Street in the city yesterday.

Police and fire units were tasked to the scene at about 3pm Saturday. Work continues on controlling the fire.

Speaking this morning, Detective Superintendent Phil Owen 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.”

He confirmed that the two 15-year-olds were detained for questioning.

Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Hunt, aged 38 and a father of two, was one of sixty firefighters deployed to the shopping hub to tackle the blaze.

It is understood the fire began in the store-room of the shop.

The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said it has been a “particularly difficult incident due to the complex layout of the building and the amount of materials inside”.

Hunt and a colleague got into difficulty inside the building at around 8.35pm and both were pulled out by fellow firefighters and treated by the Ambulance Service before being taken to hospital.

The second man remains in hospital but his injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

“We are devastated by the loss of one of our colleagues who has died in the line of duty,” County Fire Officer Steve McGuirk said.

“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.

Commenting on the firefighters who are still dealing with the incident, he said, “They 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.”

Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Messages of condolence and support have flooded in through the fire service’s Facebook page.

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