1. ITV Report

Firefighter remembered at service in Manchester

Stephen Hunt Photo:

A fire service which lost one of its firefighters during a blaze at a city centre shop has closed the incident with an official ceremony.

Former soldier Stephen Hunt, 38, was part of a team responding to a fire at Paul's Hair World in Oldham Street, Manchester, when he and a colleague got into difficulties and had to be pulled from the building.

Both were taken to hospital but Mr Hunt was declared dead on arrival following the fire which started on Saturday, July 13.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) said a small "low key" ceremony to mark the official closing of the long-running incident is being held to allow respects to be paid to Mr Hunt.

His family and colleagues will attend a short service involving the fire service's traditional bell ringing ceremony and wreath laying, along with the reading of The Fireman's Prayer.

The service will be attended by Chief Fire Officer Steve McGuirk and Councillor Tommy Judge, vice chairman of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority.

After this, a closing message will be sent to the GMFRS Control Room and the final fire appliance will leave the scene.

It is thought that Mr Hunt was enveloped by a sudden surge of extreme heat which took the officers inside the building by surprise and which may have been fuelled by the chemicals stored at the business - which is a supplier of hair extensions and hair beauty products.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is under way.

Detectives initially questioned two 15-year-old girls on suspicion of manslaughter but they have since been released after police decided to take no further action against them.

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