A firefighter tragically lost his life battling a fire on Oldham Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter yesterday.
Stephen Hunt, from Philips Park Fire Station in Manchester, was one of more than 60 firefighters at the scene tackling the blaze which began at Paul’s Hair World at around 2.50pm.
A spokeman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said Stephen got into difficulty inside the building at around 8.35pm, along with another firefighter.
Both were pulled out by their colleagues and taken to hospital, however Stephen later died.
County Fire Officer Steve McGuirk said: “We are devastated by the loss 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.”
Twp 15-year-old girls have now been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and are in police custody for questioning.
A number of road closures remain in place in the area as police and the fire service work to establish exactly what caused the fire and the circumstances surrounding it.
Mr McGuirk added: “At this stage arson is not being ruled out.”
The complex layout of the Paul’s Hair World and the amount of materials inside are thought to be factors which led to Stephen getting into difficulty.